Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs

It was the story of the Games for Australian wheelchair athlete Sue Hobbs as she pursued gold medallist Juana Soto of Mexico to win a silver medal in the women’s Class 5 1500m at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Hobbs won three silver medals at the Games – in the 60m, 800m and 1500m – all behind Soto’s gold. The racing chairs were very unsophisticated by today’s standards, with the variety of designs showing that no-one had really yet got it right, the athletes having to work very hard to keep their chairs at speed.

Appreciation from the PM

At a time when the “other” Australian Olympic team wasn’t too popular in government circles, every member of the Australian team to the 1980 summer Paralympics received a letter of appreciation from the Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser. Fraser had strongly lobbied the Australian Olympic Committee, the national sporting organisations and individual athletes to boycott the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow as part of wider action against the Soviet union for its invasion of Afghanistan. Because Moscow had declined to host the Paralympics, there was no reluctance on the part of the government to recognise the achievements of Australia’s Paralympians.

A memento of the Games – friendship, unity, sportsmanship

An “Olympic florin” was minted for the 1980 summer Paralympics – the “Olympics for the Disabled” – in Arnhem and a mounted coin given to each competitor. This image combines both sides of the coin given to Australian pistol shooter Peter Pascoe.

From the track to the dance floor – in the same chair

The competition is over and its time for the competitors at the Games to let their hair down. The numbers on the backs of the chairs on the dance floor are a bit of a giveaway that, in 1980, many athletes competed in their day chairs, with maybe different wheels. It would be hard to imagine a modern competition chair from any sport doing duty on the dance floor!

The Games Village even had its own daily newspaper

Each day during the 1980 summer Paralympics, the organisers produced a four page newspaper for participants, with stories about the Games, results and information. This tradition was continued, off and on, since then. In 1980, one legged Canadian high jumper Arnie Boldt was one of the superstars of the Games, attracting huge crowds to see him clear almost 2m off a single leg. Boldt won the high jump gold medal at 5 successive Games from 1976 to 1992.

Julie Russell on racing in a ‘convertible’ day chair

Interviewer: Rob Linn
Interviewee: Julie Russell
Publisher: National Library of Australia
Recorded: 26 Feb and 7 Oct 2015
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Listen to the full interview here.

GALLERY: The weird and the wonderful world of sport wheelchair design in 1980

By 1980, it was obvious that people were thinking about how to maximise chair design for performance. The racers lined with Peter Hill up for the start of the 60m sit in chairs with a variety of wheel size, push rim size, length and set-up. Sue Hobbs‘ chair looks comfortable but did it help her to go faster? Julie Russell went for a small footplate, centrally mounted, while Erich Hubel‘s push rims look like the fat steering wheel of a hot Torana. Meanwhile, back at the basketball, these days we might think they were playing in hospital chairs, unstable in every direction. Technology had not yet really come to the party at the Paralympics!

Erich Hubel takes silver behind an amazing new world record in the 800m

Five of the six finalists in the men’s Class 5 800m race at the 1980 summer Paralympics finished under the previous world record but it was Canada’s Mel Fitzgerald who led them home by smashing the previous mark by an amazing 26 seconds. Erich Hubel picked up the silver medal, 16 seconds back and still well under the old time. It was one of his three medals on the track in 1980. Robert McIntyre was less that a second behind Hubel, but out of the medals in 4th place.

And you could see the race up close if you wanted to stand trackside

Australian Sue Hobbs leads the field around the bend on a wet track during a race at the 1980 summer Paralympics. Non-competing athletes and spectators still had almost complete access to the track and the whole atmosphere was relatively informal.

But there was a silver lining for Sue Hobbs