Australia’s youngest Tokyo Paralympian wins silver and bronze
In early 2020, SASI athlete Izzy Vincent had her eyes firmly set on qualifying for the Paris 2024 Paralympics, but thanks to the delay of the Tokyo Games she is now a two-time Paralympic medallist before her 16th birthday!
Izzy, who is part of SASI’s Individual Athlete Program (IAP), won her first medal at the Paralympics on Sunday when the Australian Women’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay- 34 points team won silver.
“It’s pretty cool,” said the excited 15-year-old after the race.
“I can’t even process what just happened.”
Four days after her first medal, Izzy swam the freestyle leg of the Australian Women’s 4x100m Medley Relay- 34 points team who won bronze.
“I’m just really honoured and grateful to be a part of this team and I’m really lucky to be here.
“I felt really exhausted during the warmups, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to go but I was trying to keep in that positive mindset for my teammates.
“Seeing them come home strong and setting up a good field for me was really helpful.
“It was a pretty tough race - I don’t think I’ve ever felt so tired in 100m freestyle.”
After the race, Australia’s most successful female Paralympian and teammate of Vincent, Ellie Cole, spoke about the 15-year-old’s performance.
“Izzy fought so hard until the very end and she earnt us that medal,” Ellie said.
When asked what advice she would give Australia’s youngest team member, Ellie said to always have fun and always keep that giggly sense about herself.
“You started swimming because you loved it, so make sure that you keep that.”
Adelaide born Izzy only started swimming three years ago, so when she was selected to go to Tokyo (her first international event), it came as a pleasant surprise to Izzy’s Dad, Phil Vincent.
“It was obviously very exciting, a bit of a surprise as we weren’t expecting her to make the Tokyo Games - she was aiming longer term for hopefully Paris,” Phil said.
While watching his daughter swim on TV, Phil experienced a rollercoaster of emotions ranging from excitement to nerves.
He’s now had a chance to start feeling a lot more relaxed and is looking forward to watching the races again with Izzy when she gets home.
Spending a couple of months away from Adelaide over the Paralympic period, Phil said he was grateful to SASI for the support his family has received during this time.
“We reached out to Mark Gregory (Athlete Careers and Transition Lead) who helped us a lot with Izzy around her schooling and that aspect of it and Alex McNaughton (Psychologist & Wellbeing Lead) in terms of her wellbeing and support when she’s away.”
Being a 15-year-old who competed in four events and won two medals in her debut Games is something no one else can say they have achieved.
There is no doubt this is only the very beginning of the SASI IAP athlete’s sporting career and it’s exciting to imagine what more she will accomplish in the future!