Canberran and champion Paralympic track and field athlete Lisa Strong OAM accomplished a lot throughout her 11-year competitive career.
Living with autism, Strong has set a world record for intellectually disabled women in the high jump in 1993 at 1.45m, won four Paralympic gold medals across three events, received the Order of Australia Medal, and was awarded the ACT Female Sportstar of the Year Award and Young Canberra Citizen of the Year Award – to rattle off just a few of her achievements.
She was also the first woman with a disability inducted into the Canberra Sports Hall of Fame in 2015.
Despite all of this, Ms Strong said her biggest athletic challenge came off the track, after she retired in 2004.
“People with autism are very focused, so when my athletics career ended I started ballet at the age of 28; I am now in the advanced grade,” she said.
“Ballet to me is a beautiful military; it’s much harder than athletics. When you are doing high jump it’s just about getting over the bar no matter what your arms and face look like. In ballet, every bone in your body must be perfectly positioned and all the while you must look relaxed.
“People can use their age as an excuse, but it’s about motivation; people 30-plus can still learn new things and achieve.”
Each year the ActewAGL ACT Sport Hall of Fame inducts a select group of sports people, who have shown a great degree of dedication and professionalism and who have made valuable contributions to the ACT sporting community.
After starting in 1995, the ACT Hall of Fame, supported by ActewAGL since conception, has enabled sports people and administrators from the ACT region to be recognised for excellence in their field.
The Hall of Fame honours the important role of sport in bringing the community together and contributing to individual and community wellbeing.
Nominations are called for annually and are received from Canberra registered sporting organisations and clubs.
This year’s awards will be presented at a gala event at the National Arboretum on 30 November.