As we wrap up another year, we took the time to chat to Paralympian, Monique Murphy, about her "best year yet"!
A BIT ABOUT MON
Monique Murphy is a 22 year old Swimmer from Australia who grew up swimming competitively. In April 2014, Monique fell 20m from a fifth story balcony which left her in a coma with extensive injuries. They included a broken jaw in two places, a cut to her neck close to the main artery and windpipe, a broken left collarbone, a tear in her triceps tendon, three broken ribs and a tibial plateau fracture. Unfortunately, Monique's leg injuries were too severe for recovery, which led to the amputation of her right leg below the knee.
While she was on the road to recovery, there was no doubt in her mind that she would be back in the pool. At just 12 months post amputation, Monique was representing Australia at the 2015 IPC World Championships where she placed in the top 10.
In 2016 Monique qualified for her first Paralympic Games where she went on to calm a Paralympic Silver medal! Here's what she had to say about it all...
What did it feel like standing on the podium after winning a medal for your country at the Paralympics?
I'm not sure if I felt more nervous before my race or stepping onto the podium. I was so happy I could hardly think straight. My legs felt like jelly and I was just focusing on not falling over. When I saw the representative walk up with my medal to present it to me my eyes instantly filled with tears. I was then trying to smile and look happy while crying and wishing I had some tissues in my pocket. I then looked up and saw my parents in the stand and sharing that moment with them will remain one of the proudest and happiest moments I've evet experienced. Standing in the Green and Gold knowing my friends and family were back home, I was proud of myself, thankful for all the support I've recieved and proud to be an Aussie.
What was the atmosphere like when you raced?
I had a brazillian named Andre Brazil in the 400 before me so the crowd was electric. In Marshalling you could feel the walls vibrate with the cheers. Walking out I focused on my lane and didnt look up into the crowd as this is my race plan. I could hear my Dolphins team call the "Coooooe" and knew thet were there for me. In my last 50 I could feel the energy of the crowd and knew they were cheering loud. There was half a second between 2nd place and 4th so it was a close finish.
What was village life like?
The village was fantastic. Its very busy and sometimes caotic and also of walking around. But the vibe amongst the athletes is one of pride and respect. The paralympic movement is something that makes you feel apart of something special.
What was your favourite experience in Rio?
After my 400 my training partner Ashleigh McConnell was apart of the winning 4x100 relay team. Sharing that night with her and our medals was my favourite memory. After her medal press she came running into the warm down pool and jumped up and hugged me we almost fell into the pool.
What was it like being part of the Australian Paralympic Swim Team?
The Australian Paralympic Swim Team is a big family. We are all there to race and perform and to also support each other. If we aren't racing we are up in the stands cheering each other on.
Any funny stories from Rio?
After my 400 free I went to see my family in the stands. I was still wearing my medal and I was stopped by almost every Brazilian wanting a photo. I hardly had any time to see my family! The feeling of accomplishment and also the feeling that I really showed people what I'm capable of as an amputee was incredibly rewarding.
On the first day, I went into the change room showers and thought the pressure was odd. Turns out the shower didn't have a shower head it was just a pipe poking out of the wall. The next week they did put a shower head on...but it was upside down so the water just sprayed up onto the roof!
What was your favourite race at the Paralympics?
My favourite race was my 400m final. That's my race and even though it's a rollercoaster of emotions its all worth it when you hit that wall and see the result you worked so hard for.
Thank you so much for chatting with us Mon! We are so proud to have you as part of Team Zealous. Your determination to achieve your goals is inspirational and admirable. You took a moment in your life that could have changed you for the worse but instead you looked it dead in the eye and said, "Try and stop me".
We are sure this is just the beginning of what is to come for the unstoppable Monique Murphy! Bring on 2017...