GREG Smith’s mother Helen yesterday described her son’s fourth Paralympic gold medal as “pretty special”.
“It was right on the siren when Greg threw the last goal and he had the ball held up high on his hand,” Ms Smith said yesterday from her Ballarat home.
“It was such an emotional moment.”
Buninyong-based Smith captained the Australian wheelchair rugby team to a gold medal victory over Canada, 66 to 51 on Sunday night.
It topped off an amazing 2012 London Paralympics for Smith, who was also the Australian flag bearer for the opening ceremony.
Ms Smith watched the match at her son’s home on Sunday night with a large group of relatives, including his partner Amaya and children Keenan, 3, and Nate, 18 months.
“Keenan sat up and watched it. He loved it all, he’s very proud of his dad. It was a very vocal night.”
While Ms Smith had yet to talk to her 35-year-old son, he has spoken to Amaya.
“She said he was very excited and very emotional. It was pretty special because I’d say it would be his last (Paralympics).
“It’s getting harder with all the training. He spends three days a week in Melbourne and trains three days a week at home.”
Ms Smith said some sort of celebration was planned for when Smith returns from London on Thursday.
“It’s still a bit new to us. Greg’s fairly full-up with media commitments, being the flag bearer as well, so he’s flat out. But it was a great way to top it all off.”
Smith was an Australian Army physical training instructor when he was injured in a car accident at 19.
He took up wheelchair racing in 2003 before going on to compete in the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics and the 1996 Atlanta event, winning two silvers and two bronzes.
He won 800 metre, 1500 metre and 5000 metre gold in front of a home crowd at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics.
Smith took up wheelchair rugby as a social sport before being selected in the Australian mixed team that won silver at Beijing in 2008.
The Australian wheelchair rugby team coach Brad Dubberley is also from Ballarat.