Karni Liddell

Karni Liddell has already established herself as one of Australia's most successful and well respected Paralympic swimmers of our time.

Karni's journey to success began a lot differently than the typical elite athlete. Karni was diagnosed at birth with a degenerative muscle wasting disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Her amazing parents were told by many Doctors and specialists that their first born child would not walk, sit up or live past her teenage years. In fact many specialists told Terri and Jeff Liddell to make their daughter as comfortable as possible, as exercise only makes this condition worse.

Karni's parents started her on a 'crazy' self invented rehabilitation program which soon helped them realise that one of the greatest pleasures in life is achieving things people say can't be done!

Not only did Karni walk she also established herself as one of the best swimmers in the world. Karni broke her first world record at the age of 14 and went into the Sydney Paralympic Games as the fastest woman in the world for all her events. Karni was also voted in by her team mates to be one of the Australian team captains.

Karni participated in many modelling photo shoots and magazines including a 6 page bikini spread for Inside sport, a Paralympic body painting calendar and Black and White Magazine. Karni wanted people to understand that accidents and disability don't discriminate it chooses beautiful people every single day. Superman was in a wheelchair.

Karni's story is filled with 'edge of your seat' unbelievable drama and circumstances, more importantly she demonstrates the power of belief and choice. Karni will have you crying one minute and then laughing out loud. The triumph of the human spirit prevails in Karni's story.

Karni is now a Sports Journalist for 4BC radio and worked as a commentator at the Athens Paralympic Games, at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and at the World Swimming Championships. More amazingly Karni was employed by Westpac Bank to raise $1million for the Australian Paralympic team to go to Athens. Karni had a huge target and goal, to raise $1million in 4 months. With the help of the Westpac team, Karni was able to raise enough money to ensure the whole team could live the Paralympic dream.

Karni is the Ambassador for Tourism Queensland, Australian Paralympic Committee, Day of Difference Foundation, Muscular Dystrophy Association and Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association. Karni has just started studying Speech Pathology at the University of Queensland; this really does demonstrate Karni's passion in communication and helping people with disabilities.

Presentation Titles: More Than Meets the Eye

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