16 November 2020
When born and bred Kempsey boy Terry Giddy suffered devastating spinal injuries after a tree felling accident in the 1960s, the then 15 year old had no idea he would go on to be a household name and have an elite sporting career that spans over three decades.
Fast forward to 2020 and Terry is the proud competitor of six Paralympic Games, three Commonwealth Games and six World Titles, bringing home a total of twenty eight medals, including six Paralympic medals.
It is early afternoon, and we phone through to Terry who answers from his room at BUPA Care in Kempsey where he undergoes dialysis treatment before heading home for a couple days a week.
“I spent nine months in Royal North Shore Hospital and 15 months in Mount Wilga Rehabilitation Hospital after the accident, but it wasn’t long until I was back into playing sports,” he said.
“Competing for Australia was such a buzz and people are proud as punch when they pick up a bronze medal so to have six medals under my belt is fantastic.”
However, winning was not a main concern of Terry’s; he was more so proud of the longevity of his career and the opportunities it presented him.
He ofﬁcially retired in 2004 but decided to compete one last time at the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games, coming in at seventh in the seated shot put and named Australia’s oldest Commonwealth Games athlete.
Terry’s career as a professional athlete opened many doors to create value for people and to spread his incredibly inspiring story and experiences as a champion Paralympian, but it wasn’t to be, as he struggled with health issues and admits this was a bitter pill to swallow.
“I was geared up to do motivational talks with the Australian Paralympic Committee and WorkCover to raise awareness of workplace safety, so the dialysis put a real knocker on me.”
Champion Terry did not let this deter him too much, focussing on training champion powerlifters of his own at his home gym called Big Terry’s Little Gym in Aldavilla.
“I still go to the gym there at least twice a week and particularly like it when the boys are there. I reckon they don’t work real hard when I’m not there!”
Terry’s afﬁnity for the Kempsey community runs deep and he acknowledges the instrumental role locals played in him competing across the world.
“Kempsey is a great community and they backed me all those years when I was competing.”
“I see that because Coastline does help out the community, which is a wonderful thing because when you see people doing good things, you want to back that – just like Kempsey backed me for all those years I was competing”, he said.
“Representing our community is certainly one of my proudest moments.”