'Going nuts': World goes bonkers over Aussie Paralympic hero
The five year wait to compete at the Tokyo Paralympics has been well worth it for Australian swimmer Grant 'Scooter' Patterson.
After 13 years of training, successes and failures, the 32-year-old at last broke through for his first Paralympic medal after failing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games.
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The short-statured Patterson, known as the unofficial mayor of Cairns, won silver in the SB2 50m breaststroke n Tuesday to go with last Saturday's bronze.
"I think I will have a set of keys for when I get back - I will unlock some naughty doors," Patterson said.
Patterson's vibrant personality has captured Australian hearts as much as his incredible and hard-fought success in the pool.
News Corp reporter Julian Linden got a dose of that personality when he asked Patterson how many calls and messages he'd received since breaking through for his first medal over the weekend.
“It’s going nuts,” he said.
“I‘m very thankful for all the people back home that are supporting me but I nearly need a receptionist here to answer all the messages because I don’t like to leave people short.”
Leave it to Patterson to have a punchline prepared which references his diastrophic dysplasia, a form of dwarfism.
His quick wit has led many fans to call for him to get some opportunities outside the pool to showcase his talent.
Thirteen years in the making. This means everything for Grant 'Scooter' Patterson ❤️#Tokyo2020 | #Paralympics | https://t.co/JvWSD4NlW6 pic.twitter.com/QiV8ITIbCE
— 7Sport (@7Sport) August 31, 2021
Scooter Patterson late night talk show when #Paralympics #Tokyo2020
— Evan Morgan Grahame (@Evan_M_G) August 31, 2021
I absolutely love Scooter Patterson. Make him mayor of Cairns #TokyoParalympics2021
— Luke McGarry (@LukeMcGarry7) August 31, 2021
Give Todd Hodgetts his own TV show. Actually, a double act with Scooter Patterson. Awesome energy & spirit.
“Anything is possible!!” @AUSParalympics 👏🏼💪🏽
— Lauren Wood (@LaurenHeraldSun) August 31, 2021
Grant Scooter Patterson is just a rippa bloke !! How good takes home a Silver and a bronze #Tokyo2020 #Scooter #ParaSwimming
— Morgan 🦁🐻 (@wominator91) August 31, 2021
Aussie Paralympians dominating in the pool in Tokyo
Swimmer Col Pearse broke down in tears after overcoming Victoria's repeated lockdowns to win his first Paralympics medal.
The 18-year-old VCE student was fearing the wrath of his friends as he became an endearing, blubbering mess on TV after his S10 100m butterfly bronze.
As Australia won two more gold medals on Tuesday and wheelchair tennis star Dylan Alcott overcame a tough challenge to make the quad singles final, Pearse was overcome with emotion after his final.
"My boys are going to rip into me for this ... do not make memes over me crying, please," he told Channel Seven.
"It's been a hard 18 months in Victoria (and) it just means the world to me to finally go on the podium.
"Eighteen months ago I didn't think this was possible."
Pearse and his family famously set up a training pool in a dam last year on the family farm near Echuca, complete with lane ropes, so he could train while pools were shut.
Then he could not go to the Paralympic trials in Adelaide earlier this year because of a border closure.
For all the emotion and laughs, the powerful Australian swim team had a lean night on Tuesday despite plenty of opportunities.
They had 11 finalists, but Jasmine Greenwood's silver in the S10 100m butterfly was the only other medal at the pool.
Of their three finalists in the women's S9 100m freestyle, Ellie Cole was the first home in fifth place.
Australia now has 13 gold, with cyclist Darren Hicks taking out the C2 time trial and James Turner claiming the T36 400m at the track.
Alcott survived a stern challenge from Dutch opponent Niels Vink to win 6-4 3-6 6-4 and the top seed will face Sam Schroder, also from The Netherlands, for the gold medal.
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