Paralympic & World Champion

About Kelly

As a Teenager

The life of Geelong’s Kelly Cartwright is best described as triumph over adversity. At the tender age of 15 Kelly was forced to make a decision that would change the direction of her life, literally every step of her life from that day on.

Raised in Port Arlington, and moving to Belmont, Geelong at age 15, Kelly was like most other sporty teenage girls – bright eyed and loving life. With her trademark smile Kelly had many friends and looked forward to joining them as teammates every Saturday for Netball.

The Diagnosis

In the November of 2004 Kelly’s world changed forever. Diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in her right knee, Kelly was forced to make the most difficult decision of her life; Have her right leg amputated to give her the best chance of survival, or face radical surgery to remove the cancer but potentially still face the risk of the cancer spreading and ultimately claiming her life. Kelly chose amputation.

The Rehabilitation

After a pain staking 3 months of rehabilitation she was fitted with a prosthetic leg. Having learnt to walk again and faced with the thought of not playing netball she looked for a new direction. That direction was running.

The Challenge

Running with an artificial leg proved a challenge and produced many falls, cuts and bruises. But with every fall came more determination and it wasn’t long before the falls were replaced with a focus on the clock and the times Kelly was running.


In the August of 2005 Kelly tried out for and was accepted as a member of the Emerging Talent squad for the London Paralympics. What was remarkable was that this was achieved using a ‘walking’ leg, rather than a purpose built prosthetic leg that is made for running

Spurred on by her early success, and with support from her friends and family, Kelly raised enough money to purchase a new purpose built running leg and so began the career of the worlds most talented above the knee amputee.

Kelly also achieved off the field and whilst training six to seven days a week Kelly achieved her goal of completing her VCE at Bellarine Secondary College in 2006

Current Goals

  • Represent my country at the 2012 London Paralympics (I’m there now!!!)
  • To win gold for both Long Jump (done!) and 100 metre sprint
  • To be the first above knee women to go under 16 seconds in the 100m.
  • To do my best at the games!
  • Represent Australia for years to come!

Fast Facts Favourites

Sport: AFL Football Geelong
Movie: Green Mile
Food: Italian
School Subject: Health
Book: Bronze Horseman
App: Instagram
Colour: Green
TV Show: Modern Family
Animal: My beautiful cat
City: Melbourne
Holiday Destination: Italy
Exercise: Pull ups
Athlete: Usain Bolt
Way to pass the time: Cooking
4 People you would invite for dinner, dead or alive: Mum & Dad so I could spend some time with them. Bruce Willis. Usain Bolt