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Michael Milton, 2012

Dave Tacon

type C photograph (sheet: 48.2 cm x 34.6 cm, image: 40.6 cm x 26.9 cm)

Michael Milton (b. 1973) won four gold medals at the 2002 Paralympic Games, with a clean sweep of the Alpine events. Ten years earlier, he had been the first Australian to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics or Paralympics. Having begun skiing as a very small boy, Milton developed bone cancer at the age of nine, and had his left leg amputated above the knee; he was reassured when he saw a film of a one-legged person skiing. The first person with a disability to ski at more than 200km per hour, he held the world speed record for a downhill skier with a disability from 2003 to 2006. His ski racing medal count stands at eleven Paralympic medals (six gold) and eleven World Championships medals (six gold). He was the penultimate torch bearer at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games, handing over to Louise Sauvage. In 2006 he took up cycling, and in 2007 he won a gold medal in the 3000m individual pursuit at the Australia Track Cycling Championships and broke the Australian record for the event. Diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in 2008, he rallied to take up triathlon competition. Although, unlike most one-legged triathletes, he is unable to use a prosthetic leg, he has been selected for the Australian Paratriathlon team to compete in New Zealand in October 2012. Besides his sporting achievements, Milton is regarded as inspirational for feats such as walking the Kokoda Track and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. However, he dislikes being characterised as courageous. ‘The really important things in life are family, friends and having fun. None of those things has anything to do with how many legs you have,’ he has said.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2012

Accession number: 2012.30

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Dave Tacon (age 36 in 2012)

Michael Milton (age 39 in 2012)

Subject professions

Sports and recreation

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