Long jump star Vanessa Low has capped a mighty romantic recruiting coup for Australia by breaking her own world record three times en route to a gold medal.
The 31-year-old from Canberra came into the Tokyo Paralympics with the world mark of 5.07 metres, but she had also unofficially jumped 5.32 metres.
She torched the T63 competition on Thursday night, jumping 5.16 metres, 5.20 metres and finally 5.28 metres among her six attempts.
Low won long jump gold for Germany at the Rio Games, then switched to Australian nationality because of her husband Scott Reardon.
🥇 LOW WINS GOLD 🥇
— 7Sport (@7Sport) September 2, 2021
A Rio 100-metre gold medallist, Reardon was in the stands at the Olympic Stadium to watch his wife’s command performance.
“When we first met each other, we immediately had an emotional connection – that’s something very rare to find,” Low told Channel Seven.
“We really support each other, the bad and the good.
“Having him by my side and having the ability to feed off each other’s energy, it’s so amazing – I wouldn’t be here without him.”
Three months ago, Low was confined to bed for two weeks when she fell in her bathroom and suffered concussion symptoms from a serious head knock.
She is still dealing with weekly headaches.
GOLD for Vanessa Low!
Vanessa defends her title from Rio and wins gold in the Women's Long Jump T63 with a world record jump of 5.28m (her third of the night!). #ReadySetTokyo #Tokyo2020 #Paralympics #ParaAthletics pic.twitter.com/ZL9cAuRYkG
— AUS Paralympic Team (@AUSParalympics) September 2, 2021
But as with any Paralympic champion, Low is used to overcoming setbacks and challenges.
She lost her legs as a teenager in Germany when she fell from a platform and was run over by a train.
“If people randomly meet me on the street, they’d never think to themselves ‘she’s been given an incredible opportunity’,” Low said.
“But somehow when they see me on top of the podium, competing here on the world stage, all of a sudden they can sense an empowerment over whatever has happened to us.
“That is something that’s so special about the Paralympic Games.”