Greatest moments in Otago sport - Number 101

Former paralympian athlete Bill Lean with his 1976 gold medal. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Former paralympian athlete Bill Lean with his 1976 gold medal. Photo by Craig Baxter.
The Otago Daily Times counts down the 150 greatest moments in Otago sport.

No 101: Bill Lean breaks world record (1976)

Bill Lean was one of the pioneers of elite parafed sport in the South.

His greatest moment in the field of competition came in 1976, when he broke a shot put world record at the Toronto Paralympics.

He fired up to record a stunning throw of 8.87m.

Lean was part of a New Zealand contingent of 12 athletes, who between them won 13 medals in Toronto.

His most well-known team-mate was Eve Rimmer, who won gold medals in four athletic events.

Lean had started competing in international paraplegic sport in 1966. A highlight was the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Dunedin when he won a gold medal in heavyweight weightlifting with a world record total of 202.50kg.

He also competed at the 1980 Paralympics in Arnhem.

Lean was 19 when he fell out of a tree and became a paraplegic. He recalled how sport became an integral part of dealing with his injury.

"You could sit there and sulk about it, which doesn't do you any good, or you can get off your butt and go out and do something," Lean said.

"That was my philosophy."

 

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