Former World Champion Paralympic Swimmer Takes Gold
Otago Community Trust
New Zealand Masters Games
Former World Champion Paralympic Swimmer Takes Gold on Trampoline
Jenny Newstead (50yrs) was a household name in the 1990s, winning a haul of gold medals at the Paralympics in Barcelona and Atlanta and at the World Champs in Malta. This weekend she added to her gold medal tally when she competed in Gymsports at the Otago Community Trust New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin.
This inspiring woman, who has muscular dystrophy, retired from Paralympic competition in 1997 after two shoulder replacements and a head injury. Two years ago she says she came out of retirement when she became a coach at the Dunedin Gymnastic Academy.
She says she was coerced by her husband, coaches and athletes to compete at the New Zealand Masters Games in two trampoline events and in tumbling. Somewhat challenging you might think, for someone who relies heavily on a crutch to stand. Jenny views the challenge slightly differently.
“The thing is, when you think about it, on a trampoline you aren’t ever really standing on your feet. It’s all about physics, what goes up must come down, it’s all about momentum. The hardest thing for me is when I land on two feet, I find it hard to stay upright. I have enough trouble during the day being upright knowing that the floor is a long way away from me. “
This weekend she won a gold medal in the advanced trampoline event with a routine that included ten bounces and two somersaults. She also won gold in the double mini trampoline and in the novice 50-59 tumbling event – a floor-based discipline which involved cartwheels, twists and other body contortions.
“Winning at the Masters Games is always more exciting for me than at the Paralympics, especially when I am up against other competitors because you’re competing against able bodied people. The medals, themselves, don’t mean anything to me, they are the bonus for doing your personal best.”