Paralympic Medalist, Motivational Speaker and Author
Raised in the rural town of Tocumwal in New South Wales, Don is the quintessential boy from the bush and a classic Aussie larrikin. Born without the lower half of his left leg, Don didn’t let this stop him and it wasn’t even until high school and after a friend mentioned the Paralympics that he considered he might be disabled.
Even then, his ‘disability’ opened a whole new world of sporting opportunities for Don. Growing up, he was as active as any and played sports for fun, including football, swimming and track and field. There were no elite athletes in Tocumwal and so, Don set his sights on being the first and his dream of competing in the Paralympics and representing Australia was born.
Through hard work, grit and determination, Don went on to realize his dream, making his first Australian team at the age of eighteen at the World Championships in 1994 and winning his first gold medal. Throughout his sporting career, he has competed in four World Championships, three Paralympic Games, two World Cups and a Commonwealth Games.
A respected voice both on and off the track, Don commentated at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and appeared on Andrew Denton’s ABC TV show, "Enough Rope”. He was also the Australian flag bearer at the 2006 World Championships.
After retiring from sport, Don showcased his leadership skills as an Australian Team Manager at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. In the following year, he served as a team manager for the Australian Athletics Team at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
In 2014, Don made a successful return to sport and competed at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, twenty years after his national debut.
Don is also one of Australia’s favourite motivational speakers, captivating and inspiring audiences to turn challenges into opportunities. He has become known for his warmth, honesty, and determination to inspire his audiences to have a go, no matter what challenges they face. He has worked with a vast variety of organizations including BHP, Telstra, Australia Post, NAM, Australian Sports Physicians, Victoria Police Force, the Education sector, numerous not-for-profit organizations, and multiple sporting teams such as Hawthorn FC and Western Bulldogs FC.
In addition to his work as a former athlete and speaker, Don has also devoted himself to serving the community. He was the inaugural patron of Disability Professionals Victoria, former president of the Sandringham Athletics Club and former vice president of The Amputee Association of Victoria. Don was also the founding board member for the Start Foundation, the inaugural ambassador for New Horizons Club and a board member of Wallara Australia.
In 2016, Don won a silver medal for the Best Regional Non-Fiction release at the Independent Publisher Book Awards for his autobiography, "One Foot on The Podium”. In 2018, he published his second book, "One Foot Beyond The Podium”.