A five-time Paralympic gold medallist has died after being hit by a car while riding his bike.
Australian Kieran Modra, who competed in eight Paralympic Games, died on Wednesday (November 13) in a crash with a car while riding north of Adelaide.
Modra, 47, competed in athletics and swimming before he switched to para-cyling and won five golds between 1996 and 2016 before his retirement from elite sport.
Chief executive of Paralympics Australia, Lynne Anderson, said: “We are in shock and we are absolutely devastated.
“Our deepest condolences are with Kieran’s wife Kerry and their three children as well as the many people in within the Paralympic community, particularly the Para-cycling community, who will be rocked by this tragedy. We are hurting with you.”
Modra, who was visually impaired, started his Paralympic career in 1998 in athletics, switched two swimming in 1992 and won two bronze medals.
But it was the switch to Para-cycling that took Modra’s career to the next level, as he won five gold and three bronze medals, including three consecutive Paralympic victories in the tandem pursuit from 2004 to 2012.
Anderson added: “Kieran is a giant of Australian Paralympic sport, not only because of his competitive success but also because of his wider contribution to the Paralympic movement across multiple sports over many years. He has left a legacy that will live one.
“As an athlete, he was the fiercest of competitors who was at his best when the odds were against him. Away from the competitive arena, Kieran was a kind soul and a great character with a huge heart, who loved engaging with people and sharing his experiences.”
Modra was cycling on the Sturt Highway at Kingford when he was hit by a car travelling in the same direction just after 7am and died at the scene.
Police are investigating.
Anderson added: “In retirement from elite competition, Kieran was always giving back, working as a mentor to the next generation of talent and it was our pleasure that he accepted to our invitation to participate in our Tokyo 2020 team processing sessions to share his experiences with athletes aiming for Paralympic success next year.
“This is a truly distressing time for us. This is a loss that will be felt for a long time to come.”