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COLMAN, Richard AM

COLMAN, Richard ‘Rich’ AM

Richard Colman showing students at Campbell House his gold medal (T53 800 metres) from the Athens Paralympics. (Ad Astra Jan, 2008 Page 26)

Richard Colman showing students at Campbell House his
gold medal (T53 800 metres) from the Athens Paralympics.
(Ad Astra Jan, 2008 p26)

In demonstrating that disability was no barrier to sporting excellence Richard Colman, strong willed and positive, achieved a number one ranking in the world in 2004. He was educated at Geelong College from 1991 to 2003 participating in athletics, swimming and water polo. From 2000 to 2003 he was a member of the School Athletic Team. At the Senior School he was a member of Keith House and at Preparatory School, Helicon House.

Born with spina bifida 'Rich' has been undaunted throughout his life. Though born in Norway he moved to Australia at a young age and has been described as strong-willed and positive in everything he does. He is a passionate sport devotee, particularly AFL, basketball and swimming and currently, is an accountant.

His gold medal winning victory in the 800 metres wheelchair final at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games was the highlight of a performance that included a silver in the 100 metres relay and top ten finishes in other events. Such were his achievements that he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Awards of January 2005 for his service to sport. In 2007, he took to the football field, joining the VFL, as the first wheelchair-bound Australian to umpire a football match. In 2008, he qualified for the Beijing Paralympic Games gaining a silver in the 200m and bronze in the 400m. In September, 2011 he claimed victory in the 400m wheelchair race at the World Athletics Championships in South Korea.

In June, 2012 Richard was selected for a place in the London 2012 Paralympic Games competing in four T53 events: the 200m; 400m; 800m; and Relay.

In 2011, Richard Colman was inducted into the Old Geelong Collegians' Association (OGCA) Notables Gallery.

His significant service to sport as a gold medalist at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, and to the community was recognised in the Queen's Birthday Awards of June 2014 when he was awarded membership (AM) in the general Division of the Order of Australia. His citation is as follows:

Gold Medallist and Paralympics Champion, Athletics, London 2012 Paralympics Games, 2012; one Gold Medal and 2 Bronze medals.
Competitor, Beijing 2008 Paralympics Games, one Silver Medal and one Bronze Medal; Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, one Gold Medal and one Silver Medal.
Competitor, Dehli 2010 Commonwealth Games, one Silver Medal.
Represented Australia, International Paralympics Committee, World Athletic Championships, Lyon 2013, 2 Bronze Medals and team flag bearer; Christchurch, 2011, one Gold Medal and one Silver Medal; Assen, 2006, one Bronze Medal; Lyon, 2002, one Bronze Medal.
Represented Australia, International Association of Athletics Federation, World Athletics Championships, South Korea, 2011, one Gold Medal.
Scholar, Victorian Institute of Sport, since 2006.
Wheelchair Athletics Coach, since 2004.
Official and Goal Umpire, Geelong Football Umpire's League Inc, Australian Football League, 2007-2010; first wheelchair-bound person to officiate as a Goal umpire of community Australian Rules football.
Involved in Run Geelong, raising funds for the Geelong Hospital Children's Ward, 2012.
Involved in ’Crack A Can of Can Do’ community campaign, St Laurence Community Services.
Community Coach, Active After School Sports program, Australian Sports Commission, since 2003.
Judge, Thermoskin Community Sports Fund, 2013 and 2014.
Member, Deakin University Alumni.
Volunteer, Berry Street foster care program, 2 camps.
Supporter, Barwon Sports Academy.
Involved in launching Red Cross Blood Service Appeals.
Member, Chilwell Athletic Club, since 1995.
Other awards/recognition include:
Awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day 2005 Honours List for his service to sport as a Gold Medallist at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games.
Young Alumni of the Year, Alumnus of Deakin University, 2012.
The John Landy Award (for Athletic Excellence, distinction of character and sportsmanship), Athletics Australia, 2004/05, 2019/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12.
Ambassador, St Laurence Community Services.
Ambassador, Book in Homes program.
Ambassador, Spina Bifida Foundation, since 2004.
Ambassador, Cotton on Foundation, for 2 years.

Sources: Ad Astra August 2001 p9; Ad Astra Jan 2008 p26; Geelong Adveriser 5 Sep 2011 p3; Geelong Advertiser 7 June 2012; 29 May 2012
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