2021 Convention Keynote Speaker


Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley AO is one of Australia's most well-known and respected athletes.

Winner of some of the world’s most prestigious marathons, in London, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York. The latter two, he won five times. Kurt won the Paralympic men's wheelchair marathon in Athens in 2004 and retained his title in Beijing in 2008. In Athens he also won gold over the 5000m on the track. He was recently able to finish a 20-year representative career with a dominant Gold Medal performance at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, while also receiving the honour of carrying the Australian Flag into the Closing Ceremony.


In London in 2012, he picked up a bronze medal in the marathon and a silver on the track over 5000m. In Rio 2016 Kurt successfully made the podium for the fourth consecutive time in both the 5000m and Marathon, winning Bronze and Silver, while serving as the Captain of the Australian Paralympic Team. In total Kurt has 13 Paralympic medals spanning across five games. He's also a six-times world champion from 800m to the marathon. His marathon personal best is 1 hour 18 minutes and 51 seconds set in Boston in 2011.


Off the racing circuit Kurt has been a winning crew member of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race, taking line honours in 2011 on board the yacht Loyal. However, he is most well-known for his amazing feat of crawling the 96km Kokoda track.

Kurt is actively involved in various charities as a board member, patron and ambassador. In 2016 Kurt was elected by his peers to be one of six Summer Paralympic Athletes to serve on the International Paralympic Committee's Athletes Commission.

In 2005, Kurt was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia or OAM after winning a gold medal at the Athens Paralympic Games. In 2018 Kurt received an Officer of the Order of Australia or AO, and in 2019 was awarded the NSW Australian of the Year. In 2020, he hosted ABCTV’s One Plus One.