From Rio to Freo: Colin brings home gold

Three men in Australian Paralympic uniforms standing on the winners podium
Colin Harrison, left, with teammates Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden on the podium in Rio.
October 4, 2016

Fremantle Hospital MRI Supervisor Colin Harrison and his sailing crew are the talk of the sailing world after winning gold at the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Colin and his teammates Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden won the sonar class with a clear margin and a race to spare.

The USA took silver and Canada followed with bronze.

Colin said the team had been training together with coach Grant Alderson for about three and a half years and everything had come together perfectly.

"You couldn’t have scripted it better," he said.

"I’m so proud we came away with the win, especially edging out our friends and competitors from the USA and Canada."

The win had a special significance with sailing dropped from the schedule for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics.

"It’s disappointing that sailing won’t be part of the next Paralympics, but we were ecstatic to be able to win the big one at Rio," he said.

"Australia won gold in the first-ever sonar event at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, so this really was a fairytale ending."

The four-time Paralympian said he was grateful for the support of his Fremantle Hospital colleagues over the years.

"I was under strict orders to bring my gold medal on my first day back," he laughed.

"It’s only fair as they have been part of this journey too and were so excited for me."

Colin now plans to step back from international competition to focus on coaching and teaching.