Paralympian Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson has taken Tokyo by storm, showcasing his fun-loving attitude as well as excellence in the pool.
The dual Paralympics medallist from Far North Queensland has a knack for winning hearts, with his quick wit and joviality winning fans all over the world.
A larrikin from Cairns, Patterson delighted fans this week with a video tour of the Tokyo 2020 athletes village posted to the @ausparalympics Instagram account.
The description promised “laughs and mischief” and did not disappoint.
The video opens with an enthusiastic welcome from a masked-up Scooter, who gets his nickname from the three-wheeled bike he uses to get around.
First stop is the hand-sanitising station, proving the nation’s finest are doing their bit to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the village.
The 32-year-old then introduces followers to his “mates” – classic cutouts of the Aussie mascots – before accidentally knocking one over.
Feigning exhaustion, he enlists chef de mission Kate McLoughlin to give him a “lift” – though it’s hard to believe this energetic dual medallist ever really gets tired.
It’s an effective move and McLoughlin uses a stretch band to pull him around the common area, with Patterson laughing, whooping and demanding she “go faster!”
A short interview ensues, with McLoughlin providing some insight about village life. Followed by a heartfelt thank you from Patterson on behalf of his fellow athletes.
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“Kate McLoughlin everyone! Chef de Mission, champion woman!” Patterson exclaims.
A quick tour of the gym and cold pools, as well as the bathrooms and bedrooms, is topped off with a bit of self-deprecating humour from Patterson.
“As you can see I’ve got two beds, because I’m such a tall person”, he says.
Although Scooter is known for making light-hearted jokes about his diastrophic dysplasia, which is a form of dwarfism, he takes care to encourage others.
Patterson told News Corp he always makes an extra effort when parents reach out to him about their kids who have the congenital condition.
“That‘s very touching. It’s really special, so I make sure I reach out to them and give them my email and number,” he said.
“I tell them that if they ever want to chat about some of the challenges in life that they have to overcome, which is a lot, I‘d be more than happy to help in any way, because I never really had many people to talk to when I was growing up in Cairns … there wasn’t someone like me walking around.”
Fuelled by inner ‘beast’
Scooter told The New Daily he listens to a lot of old school music and avoids coffee and energy drinks.
Instead of caffeine, it’s “the beast inside” that takes him to nine training sessions a week on top of working 40 hours.
“I’ve always had lots of positive energy,” he said.
After meeting his coach Andrew ‘Herbie’ Howard in 2007, Patterson trained hard and first competed for Australia in 2010.
He made his Paralympics debut at the London Games in 2012, but narrowly missed out on a spot in the Beijing 2016 team.
He’s come back strong in Tokyo though, already adding two medals to Australia’s haul.
He won bronze in the 150-metre medley and claimed silver in the 50-metre breaststroke.
And there’s more where that came from, with Patterson hoping to qualify for finals in two more events in the S3 class at Tokyo.
You can catch him on Channel 7, swimming for his spot in the men’s 50-metre freestyle on Thursday morning and the men’s 200-metre freestyle on Friday morning.
After placing second in his race on Tuesday, he told the Seven Network he felt it was a weight off his shoulders.
“I’ve said before that winning a Paralympic medal has been 13 years in the making and now I can walk away with two, a bronze and a silver, so I’m pretty happy with that,” he said.
In 2009, Patterson broke a world record, becoming the first athlete in his class to break the two-minute mark in the men’s 100-metre backstroke.
- For a full list of Scooter’s para-swimming achievements click here.
On top of being a medal-winning Paralympian and inspiring role model, Scooter has a few more tricks up his sleeve.
He’s also fluent in Spanish, enjoys knitting and grows his own tomatoes, according to Swimming Australia.
TND asked Scooter for a piece of advice for Aussies in lockdown who have hit a mental wall.
“Hang in there, it’s not over until the fat lady sings,” he said.
“I waited 13 years to chase down my dream!”
Patterson has an ambition to become a motivational speaker when he’s done in the pool, and with plenty of personality and a great attitude, we reckon he’s already well on his way.
If you’ve got a positive news story or know an inspirational character like Scooter, we’d love to hear from you!