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Kieran John Modra AM (27 March 1972 – 13 November 2019) was an Australian Paralympic swimmer and tandem cyclist. He won five gold and five bronze medals at eight Paralympic Games from 1988 to 2016, along with two silver medals at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Kieran Modra
130312 - Kieran Modra - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg
2012 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Modra
Personal information
Full nameKieran John Modra
Born(1972-03-27)27 March 1972
Port Lincoln, South Australia, Australia
Died13 November 2019(2019-11-13) (aged 47)
Kingsford, South Australia, Australia
Kerry Golding (m. 1997)
SportAthletics, swimming, cycling

Early lifeEdit

Modra was born in the South Australian town of Port Lincoln on 27 March 1972,[1] and was born visually impaired due to juvenile optic atrophy.[2][3] His sister, Tania Modra, piloted Sarnya Parker in tandem cycling at the 2000 Sydney Games, where the pair won two gold medals.[4]


Modra with his cycling pilot and wife Kerry Modra during the 1 km Time Trial at the 2000 Summer Paralympics
Modra and his pilot Scott McPhee at the 2012 London Paralympics

Modra began pole vaulting in 1987 and won the pole vaulting competition at the 1989 Australian All-School Championships.[2] He competed in athletics at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics where he competed in the Men's 1500 m B3 and Men's Javelin B3.[5] He took up swimming to aid his recovery from a knee injury, and began competing in the sport in 1990.[2] At the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, where he competed in both athletics and swimming, he won two bronze medals in the Men's 100 m Backstroke B3 and Men's 200 m Backstroke B3 events.[5]

Modra then switched to road and track cycle racing in 1995,[2] because it was a "mode of transport".[6] At the 1996 Atlanta Games, where he was piloted by his future wife Kerry Golding,[7] he won a gold medal in the Mixed 200 m Sprint Tandem open event.[5] In 1998 and 1999, he held an Australian Institute of Sport Athletes with a Disability scholarship.[8] At the 1998 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Colorado Springs with pilot Kerry Modra, he won gold medals in the Mixed Tandem Sprint B, Mixed Tandem Time Trial B and Mixed Individual Pursuit B.[9] He competed in the 2000 Sydney Games, but did not win any medals at those Games.[5] Modra's pilot, Kerry, was pregnant with the couple's first child at the games, and fainted due to low blood pressure during a quarter-final sprint race; Modra's sister, Tania, was his pilot for the rest of the games.[10] At the 2002 IPC World Cycling Championships in Altenstadt, Germany with pilot Darren Harry, he won gold medals in the Men's Tandem Sprint Time Trial and Men's Tandem 1 km Time Trial.[11]

Leading up to the 2004 Athens Games, Modra was piloted by David Short and Robert Crowe for sprint and endurance events, respectively. Shortly before the games, he was evicted from the Australian cycling team due to a successful appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport by fellow tandem cyclist Lyn Lepore, on the grounds that she deserved her place in the team because when each of Modra's pilot–rider combinations was counted separately, she had a higher rank than Modra.[12] The day before the opening ceremony, the Australian Paralympic Committee successfully appealed to the International Paralympic Committee to give Modra an extra place in the team.[13]

At the 2004 games, he won two gold medals, in the Men's Individual Pursuit Tandem B1–3 event, in which he broke a world record with a time of 4:21.451,[14] and the Men's Sprint Tandem B1–3 event, and a bronze medal in the Men's Road Race / Time Trial Tandem B1–3 event.[5] In the second of the three races in the individual sprint semi-final, Modra and Short fell off their bike after its front tyre rolled off the wheel. Despite having skin torn off their arms, legs and shoulders in the fall, they won the third semi-final race and rode in the final 45 minutes later, where they won the gold medal.[15]

The individual pursuit (B&VI 1–3) world record was broken by Modra and Tyson Lawrence in Bordeaux on 21 August 2007, in a time of 4:20.891.[16]

He broke his own world record in the preliminary round of the individual pursuit (B&VI 1–3) with a time of 4:18.961, piloted by Lawrence, they broke the record again in the final with a time of 4:18.166.[17]

At the 2008 Summer Paralympics, Modra represented Australia with Lawrence in the 1 km time trial (B&VI 1–3) and individual pursuit (B&VI 1–3) events, winning a bronze and gold medal, respectively.[5]

In 2011 Modra made a return to the bike with new pilot Scott McPhee where they won gold in the tandem B&VI 4 km pursuit at the 2011 Montichiari UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships setting a new world record of 4:17.780.[18] They placed 2nd at the Sydney road world cup in the tandem road race and 3rd in the tandem road time trial at the 2011 Segovia world cup. In the lead up to the road world championships in September Modra suffered a broken collarbone and fractured hip due to a fall in training. His recovery was swift and he returned to the bike a month later to win the Oceania 4 km pursuit championship.[citation needed] In December 2011, he collided with a car while cycling to work, breaking two vertebrae in his neck and one in his spine; this accident hampered his preparations for the 2012 London Games.[2][19] He won a gold medal at the games in the Men's Individual Pursuit B with McPhee.[5]

At the 2014 UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships in Aguascalientes, Mexico, he teamed with pilot Jason Niblett to win the silver medals in the Men's Sprint B and Men's B 1 km Time Trial.[20] With pilot Jason Niblett, he won two silver medals in the Men's tandem sprint B and Men's tandem time trial at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.[21] At the 2016 Montichiari UCI Para-cycling Track World Championships, Modra won gold with pilot David Edwards in the Men's Tandem 4 km Pursuit.[22]

At the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Paralympics, Modra and his pilot David Edwards won the bronze medal in the Men's Road Time Trial B.[23] His other results were sixth in the Men's Individual Pursuit B and fifth in the Men's Road Race B.[23]

Personal lifeEdit

Modra (left) and his pilot and wife Kerry in 2008 showing the gold medal that they won in the 200 m sprint event at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics

Modra married Kerry Golding in May 1997,[24] whom he met at a friend's 21st birthday party,[7] and they had three daughters.[25]


Modra died after he was hit by a car travelling in the same direction on the Sturt Highway in Kingsford on 13 November 2019.[3] He was cycling from Gawler to his uncle and aunt's house near Tanunda to join a ride with them in the Clare Valley.[26]


Modra (right) and McPhee (left), gold medallists at the 2012 London Paralympics

Modra received the following awards:


  1. ^ "Australians at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympics: Cyclists". Australian Sports Commission. Archived from the original on 20 January 2000. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Kieran Modra". Australian Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Paralympic cyclist Kieran Modra killed while riding north of Adelaide". ABC News. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Brilliant double for duo". The Herald Sun. 23 October 2000. p. 58.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Results for Kieran Modra from the International Paralympic Committee, retrieved 23 January 2012.
  6. ^ Williamson, Andrea (27 May 2011). "Feature Interview: Kieran Modra". ABC Radio Grandstand. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original (MP3) on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 23 January 2012.
  7. ^ a b "Modras announce new family member on eve of games". The Advertiser. 18 October 2000. p. 113.
  8. ^ Excellence : the Australian Institute of Sport. Canberra: Australian Sports Commission. 2002. ISBN 174013060X.
  9. ^ "Kieran Modra". Cycling South Australia website. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 5 April 2016.
  10. ^ "Forgettable Games for the Modras". The Age. 27 October 2000. p. 2.
  11. ^ "International Paralympic Committee World Cycling Championships-CM Altenstadt, Germany, August 5–12, 2002". Cycling News. Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Modra battles his way to cycling gold". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 September 2004. Retrieved 18 January 2012.
  13. ^ "12th Paralympic Games: Day 2". 19 September 2004. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  14. ^ "Men's Individual Pursuit Tandem B1–3 Results". International Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  15. ^ "12th Paralympic Games: Day 4". 21 September 2004. Retrieved 19 January 2012.
  16. ^ "Men's Individual Pursuit (B&VI 1–3) Qualifying" (PDF). 7 September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 September 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  17. ^ "Men's Individual Pursuit (B&VI 1–3) Finals" (PDF). 7 September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 September 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  18. ^ "Men's Individual Pursuit B – Results and Final Classification" (PDF). Royal Spanish Cycling Federation. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 March 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Severe cycling injuries to Modra". Port Lincoln Times. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2012.[permanent dead link]
  20. ^ "Australia finishes Para Track Worlds as top nation". Cycling Australia News. 14 April 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  21. ^ "Interview: Kieran Modra, Jason Niblett". ABC Grandstand. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 27 July 2014.
  22. ^ "Tandem gold to Modra & Edwards at Para Track Worlds". Cycling Australia News. 19 March 2016. Retrieved 19 March 2016.
  23. ^ a b "Kieran Modra". Rio Paralympics Official site. Archived from the original on 22 September 2016. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  24. ^ "Five months after scare in Sydney, a baby for the Modras; no games medal, but still a golden moment". The Advertiser. 31 March 2001. p. 9.
  25. ^ "Kieran Modra paralympic gold medallist killed riding bike near Gawler SA". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 November 2019. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Paralympian Kieran Modra was on his way to join ride with family before fatal crash". ABC News. 14 November 2019. Retrieved 14 November 2019.
  27. ^ "Modra, Kieran John, OAM". It's an Honour. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  28. ^ "Modra, Kieran: Australian Sports Medal". It's an Honour. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  29. ^ "SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SPORT INSTITUTE AWARDS 2011" (PDF). South Australian Sports Institute. 9 December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 25 June 2012.
  30. ^ "Australia Day honours list 2014: in full". Daily Telegraph. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  31. ^ "Cycling Dominate 2014 SASI Awards!". South Australian Sports Institute News. 21 November 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014.

External linksEdit