Bob Matthews was one of Britain's most successful Paralympic athletes. Competing in blind middle and long-distance running events he won 8 gold medals across 7 Paralympic Games and broke 22 world records.

Bob Matthews competing at Paralympic Games

His participation in the Paralympics began with Goalball at the 1980 Games in Arnhem, Holland. He then competed in athletics in the 1984 New York Games and the 1988 Seoul Games winning gold medals in the 800, 1500 and 5000 metre races. Between those Games Bob set a record for a blind runner in the 800 metres. He broke the 2 minute mark for the first time at a track meet in Brighton, winning the 800 metres in 1:59:90.

Now I was really on the same playing field as quality sighted athletes and hoped I had their respect as well as their admiration. Had Seb Coe and I set our world records for 800m at the same meeting, I’d have finished just 120M (18 seconds) behind him.

He went on to compete in the 1992 Barcelona Games, the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2004 Athens Games. He won a total of 13 Paralympic medals in his sporting career including 8 golds, 4 silvers and 1 bronze. In addition to his Paralympic victories, he set 22 world records and was the first Paralympian to be appointed an MBE.

After the 2004 Athens Games he emigrated to Auckland, New Zealand, and went on to represent the country in triathlon and cycling.