Sophie Pascoe shares what fuels her success in new TV campaign

By Ophelia buckleton

Star paralympian Sophie Pascoe has opened up in a new TV campaign about overcoming the accident which cost her part of her left leg.

Pascoe says the life-changing event fuelled her desire to succeed. The swim champion talks about it in Rebel Sport's new 'What's Your Why?' Campaign aimed at motivating Kiwis to get up and chase their goals.

"I am humbled to be able to help build a profile for disabled athletes, as I believe I can be an inspiration to the challenges athletes face rather than the disability," said Pascoe, the first woman to lead a major campaign for the sporting gear chain.

"For me, being a World Champion has helped define me rather than letting my disability define me."

Pascoe was just two when her father accidentally ran over her with a ride-on lawnmower. She lost the lower part of her left leg and has severe scarring on her right leg.

The accident - and a promise to her dying grandad when she was nine that she would win a gold medal - has driven the 24-year-old to challenge herself.

"It was a life changing moment for [dad] and my family. Not really for me because I kind of grew up with it. The fact that dad has got through life the way he has and to be able to witness me swim and become a world champion I think has held him together," Pascoe said behind the scenes of the campaign shoot.

"That's one of the reasons that I swim, to keep my family proud. It's just nice to know that I can hold us together."

From a win in the pool against her able-bodied peers to years of tenacious training, every ounce of Pascoe's focus, energy and determination is on winning.

In collaboration with sports motivation speaker Eric Thomas, the campaign explores the highs and lows of Pascoe's life, which elevated her to the world stage at just 15 years old when she won four medals at the Beijing Paralympics - the youngest ever New Zealander to win a medal.

Sharing the joy of receiving her first gold medal with her family also gave Sophie and her Dad a sense of closure after the accident all those years ago.

"It was a moment when I could search in the crowd for my parents and my family. I saw dad and I saw him shed a tear," said Pascoe.

Pascoe now has a record of 15 Paralympic medals, including nine golds.

She took home the Halberg Sport New Zealand Leadership Award last week.

Rebel Sport group managing director Rod Duke said the campaign also reflects the strength of women's sport in New Zealand today.

"We were very excited to work with Sophie. She is an inspiration to all sportspeople and epitomises what can be achieved when you have a powerful 'why'."

- NZ Herald

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