EMILY GRAY
 

Emily was diagnosed with an osteosarcoma (cancer within the bone) at the age of 11 years old. After several rounds of intense chemotherapy it was discovered that the cancer wasn't reducing, but instead multiplying. This left Emily with the hardest decision of her life. There were two options. Emily could either get a hip replacement and most likely die, or she could get her leg amputated at the hip (disarticulation) and most likely live. Emily decided to amputate her left leg. The very next day she was being wheeled into the operating room to have the most life changing event she would ever have known to this day. Fast forward 17 years later and Emily has proudly swam for South Africa several times including three Paralympic Games: Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. 

After completing her degree in Sport Science, Emily decided to stop swimming professionally and move to New York City where she now lives. However, she took her passion from the pool and put into the rock climbing wall. After only 3 months of training Emily went to the US Adaptive Climbing Nationals and place 3rd in her category respectively. Emily then became the first Paraclimber to represent South Africa on the World stage at the IFSC World Climbing Championships 2018 in Austria where she placed 6th. As Emily gears towards her second World Championships in France she hope to once again make her country proud.

 

RECORDS

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International Swim Meets 

  • 2004 IWAS Games, Rio de Janeiro - Gold, Silver & Bronze

  • 2005 South Pacific Swimming Championships, Melbourne - Bronze & multiple personal bests

  • 2005 England Open Championships, Sheffield - Multiple personal bests

  • 2006 IPC World Championships, Durban - 100m Backstroke 4th place

  • 2007 IWAS Games, Taiwan – Multiple Personal Bests

  • 2008 Paralympic Games, Beijing - 100m Backstroke 16th

  • 2010 IPC World Championships, Eindhoven - 100m Backstroke 7th place & 400m Freestyle 4th place

  • 2011 Para Pan Pacific Championships, Edmonton Canada - 4 Bronze Medals

  • 2011 All Africa Games, Mozambique - Silver & Bronze Medal

  • 2012 Paralympic Games, London - 400m Freestyle 7th place & 100m Backstroke 7th place

  • 2015 IPC World Championships, Scotland - 400m freestyle 5th place

  • 2016 Paralympic Games, Rio de Janeiro - 400m freestyle 7th place and 100m backstroke 9th place

AWARDS

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 Awards

  • 2010 The University of Pretoria Student Award

  • 2011 Nedbank Ambassador & Torch Bearer

  • 2011 South African Sport Association for the Physically Disabled - Brand Ambassador & Torch Bearer

  • 2011 The South African Sports Women of the Year with a Disability (Nominee)

  • 2012 The University of Pretoria Student Award

  • 2014 The University of Pretoria Student Award

  • 2015 The University of Pretoria Female Sport Student of the Year (Nominee)

  • 2015 Awarded Honouree Member of the South African Vascular Society

  • 2016 The University of Pretoria Female Athlete of the Olympic Year (Nominee)

MOTIVATIONAL TALKS

 
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  Major Speaking Engagements

  • North Face - In partnership with Paradox Adaptive Climbing Emily spoke on the importance of adaptive climbing in the community at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in New York City.

  • Nedbank - One of the largest banking groups in South Africa. Emily did multiple motivational talks to their employees on finding motivation in the workplace and managing adversity. Emily also spoke at sporting events were Nedbank was the main sponsor.

  • Total South Africa - A French multinational integrated oil and gas company and one of the seven "Supermajor" oil companies in the world.Emily spoke at their annual employee Wellness Day. The talk was on the 5 main illnesses in society and how to best avoid and /or manage them.

  • Rooi Rose - An Afrikaans-language monthly women's magazine published in South Africa by Caxton Magazines. It is one of the earliest magazines in the country. Emily told her story to 2000 women affected by cancer at a CANSA High Tea event.

  • University of Stellenbosch Executive Development (USB-ED) - Educates high-calibre executive managers with strategic management responsibilities together to gain insight into their own leadership profiles and develop their knowledge, skills and professional networks. Emily gave her speech to all the graduates of the year 2014.

  • Tomorrow’s Leaders Convention by Old Mutual Bank - Is a convention holding serval talks from leaders to discuss the current social and economic trends around the World. Emily was part of a panel discussion "South African Leaders under 30"

  • Pam Golding Properties - recognised locally and internationally as Southern Africa’s leading independent real estate group and the country’s most awarded real estate company. Emily spoke with rowing Olympic silver medalists Lawrence Brittain and Shaun Keeling on their expeirance in Rio 2016