Following hard on the heels of New Zealand's most decorated winter Paralympian, Patrick Cooper, came Mathew Butson, New Zealand’s most prolific medallist at a single Paralympic Winter Games.
At Nagano 1998, Butson took 3 gold medals in Men’s Giant Slalom LW9, Men’s Slalom LW9 and Men’s Super-G LW9, rounding out his haul with a silver in Men’s Downhill LW1. On the summer Paralympic side, this record is held by Para swimmer Duane Kale, now Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), who won a huge 6 medals in the pool at Atlanta 1996.
Born in Invercargill and now living in Queenstown, Butson was an avid skier before his accident at age 17. The apprentice carpenter was knocked down by a car in Wanaka, resulting in loss of his left leg below the knee and his left arm below the elbow. Para skiing was suggested to help Butson rehab from injury and move in a new direction away from carpentry. He described his first weekend back on the mountain:
“Skiing gave me something really positive to focus on after my accident, I had to work extremely hard to be successful and all my concentration and energy went into it. Being amongst the team really opened my eyes as to how capable you can be, even with a disability. Honestly, nothing ever slowed any of them down – not only were they top tier athletes, they were running businesses, raising families, studying, everything. As a now 18-year-old it gave me confidence in my ability to have a successful life in future.”
The New Zealand Paralympic Team has so far won two medals at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, with sit skier Corey Peters taking bronze in the Men's Downhill Sitting on Saturday and Adam Hall also taking bronze in the Men's Super Combined Standing. Para snowboarder Carl Murphy had an epic first event earlier this week, getting to the quarters, and will take the slopes again tomorrow (Friday) in the Men's Banked Slalom.
Watch the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games live on DUKE and TVNZ.co.nz. In addition, tune into TVNZ OnDemand to watch "Slick as Ice", a behind-the-scenes documentary by Attitude Pictures exploring the dedication and determination of our Winter Paralympians.
To find out everything you need to know visit our PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games here.
To watch PyeongChang 2018 live please visit TVNZ here.