Paralympic gold medallist swimmer Mary Fisher is retiring from the sport. Fisher won gold at the London 2012 Paralympics, setting a world record and winning three other medals – two silver and a bronze. She then went on to set another world record and win gold at the Rio 2016 Games.
Mary Fisher on the podium with her gold medal at the Rio Paralympics. Photo: Getty Images
Born in Lower Hutt and raised in nearby Silverstream, Fisher first took up competitive swimming in Upper Hutt at the age of nine and made her international debut in Australia in 2007.
This was followed by numerous World and Pan Pacific Championship medals.
Fisher is well known for her work as an advocate around disability and environmental issues, and for her support of developing Para swimmers and mentoring of youth with vision impairment and their families.
She is now a part-time Volunteer & Recreation Co-ordinator at the Blind Foundation. Distance study through Massey University enabled her to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree supported by a High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ) Prime Ministers’ Scholarship.
Fisher is currently undertaking postgraduate psychology papers and learning Te Reo Māori and enjoys community music and is a regular with the Glamaphones and Wellington Community Choir.
“My dream goal as a nine-year-old was to represent New Zealand at the Paralympics. Competing in high performance Para swimming means relentless training which I’ve loved and wholeheartedly committed to.
“It also needs immaculate dedication and an internal spark to ensure every decision will have the best performance outcome. Racing at multiple Games, sharing the highs and lows with team-mates and gaining understanding of my mind and body has given me perspective on life that I never expected. I’m fully content with my swimming career.
“However eking hundredths of a second from a race isn’t enjoyable or satisfying anymore. I thrive on researching each component of a situation, so I’ve taken time in making sure stepping away from racing is the right decision. But I’ll always be a swimmer of some description. I think being around water, listening to the ambitions and challenges young people tell me of, exploring Aotearoa and what it means to be Kiwi will be constants throughout my life.”
Fisher was a key member of the New Zealand Paralympic Team that produced performances in Rio making it the country’s most successful Paralympic Games ever.
The New Zealand Paralympic Team secured a stunning 21 medals across 12 individual medallists: nine gold, five silver and seven bronze. Overall, the Team placed 13 out of 159 on the medal table, its highest placing ever.