Ray Epstein

Ramon (Ray) Gary Epstein, OAM[1] (born 14 October 1959)[2] is an Australian Paralympic weightlifter and powerlifting coach. He represented Australia in weightlifting at the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Paralympics and was Head Coach of the Australian Paralympic powerlifting team between 2003 and 2013.[3]

Ray Epstein
310511 - Ray Epstein - 3b - 2012 Team processing.jpg
2012 Australian Paralympic Team portrait of Ray Epstein
Personal information
Full nameRamon Gary Epstein
Nationality Australia
Born14 October 1959
Brisbane, Queensland


Epstein was born in Brisbane. He became a paraplegic in 1972 following a gym accident.[4] He became a member of the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association in 1977 and competed in a number of sports including wheelchair basketball and athletics before focusing on weightlifting.[4]

He was admitted as a Chartered Accountant in 1985[5] and joined the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association as Administration and Finance Manager in 1990.[6] He was the chief executive officer of the Association from 1998 to December 2016,[6] and was appointed to the Board of the Queensland Academy of Sport in 2008.[7]

In 2002, his wife Vicki wrote the book Step by step we conquer : the story of Queensland's Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association.[8]

Sporting careerEdit

Ray Epstein lifting at the 1992 Barcelona Paralympics

Epstein competed in state, national and international weightlifting/powerlifting (bench press) competitions for athletes with a disability from 1979 to 1995. He took a break from competition in 1983–84 to pursue a professional qualification in accounting. He represented Australia at 12 international competitions, including the 1988 Seoul Paralympic Games and 1992 Barcelona Games, where he was male Captain of the Australian Team.[9][10]

His career highlights included silver medals at the World Wheelchair Weightlifting Championships in 1990 (Saint-Etienne, France)[11] and 1991 (Rhode Island, United States),[9] and gold medals and world records in the 56 kg division at the 1993 World Cup in Northampton, England[12] and the 1994 World Wheelchair Weightlifting Championships (Melbourne).[13] During his career, he held Australian records in five separate body weight categories from 48 kg to 67.5 kg bodyweight divisions.[5] He was a scholarship holder under the elite athlete programs of the Australian Institute of Sport (1992 and 1995)[14] and the Queensland Academy of Sport (1992–1995).[15]

Following his retirement in 1995, he became an accredited IPC Powerlifting Referee.[16]

Coaching careerEdit

Epstein started coaching towards the end of his lifting career due to a shortage of powerlifting coaching staff in Australia at that time. He was appointed Assistant National Coach Powerlifting in 1999 and became National Head Coach Powerlifting in 2003.[17]

He was Assistant Coach of the powerlifting team at the 2000 Sydney Paralympics[2] and Head Coach for the 2004 Athens, 2008 Beijing, and 2012 London Paralympic Games.[18][19][20]

Notable powerlifters coached by Epstein include dual Paralympic silver medalist Darren Gardiner, Abebe Fekadu, and pioneering female lifters Julie Russell and Deahnne McIntyre.[20][21][22]

He announced his retirement as Australian Paralympic Powerlifting head coach in July 2013.[3]


Epstein was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the 1994 Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to people with a disability and the sport of weightlifting,[1] and received an Australian Sports Medal in 2000.[23] He was named the Coach of the Year by the Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association in 1998, 2004, and 2006.[15] He won the Inspiring Individual Award at the 2014 Queensland Disability Awards. At the 2016 Queensland Sport Awards, he was awarded a Service to Sport Award.[24]


  1. ^ a b "Ramon Gary Epstein". It's An Honour Website. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
  2. ^ a b Australian Media Guide : Sydney 2000 Paralympic games. Sydney: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2000.
  3. ^ a b Wake, Rebekka (2 July 2013). "Epstein ends decorated powerlifting career". Australian Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on 3 January 2014. Retrieved 8 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Sports are a big lift for Ramon". Brisbane Telegraph. 6 September 1985.
  5. ^ a b "Profile – Ray Epstein ACA". Queensland Bulletin. The Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia: 9. November 1994.
  6. ^ a b "Meet our team". Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  7. ^ "Queensland Academy of Sport Board appointments". Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  8. ^ Epstein, Vicki (2002). Step by step we conquer : the story of Queensland's Sporting Wheelies and Disabled Association. Southport, Queensland: Keeaira Press. ISBN 0958529191.
  9. ^ a b "Weightlifting champ leads Paralympic wheelies team". Northern News. 21 May 1992.
  10. ^ "Athlete Search Results". International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 11 June 2012.
  11. ^ "Ready to wheel in the gold". Sunday Telegraph. 7 June 1992.
  12. ^ "Epstein home with three gold medals and two world records". Brisbane Weekend Times. 23 October 1993. p. 56.
  13. ^ "Gold for Ray". Northern News. 5 May 1994. p. 39.
  14. ^ Excellence : the Australian Institute of Sport. Canberra: Australian Sports Commission. 2002. ISBN 174013060X.
  15. ^ a b "QAS Board". Queensland Academy of Sport. Archived from the original on 30 November 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Powerlifting: International Technical Officials" (PDF). International Paralympic Committee. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  17. ^ "Annual Report 2002-2003". Australian Paralympic Committee. 2003.
  18. ^ Media Guide Athens 2004 (PDF). Sydney: Australian Paralympic Committee. 2004. Retrieved 30 July 2012.[permanent dead link]
  19. ^ "Unity lends power to lifters". Australian Paralympic Committee. 6 September 2008. Archived from the original on 2 August 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Powerlifters on track for London". Australian Paralympic Committee. 18 July 2012. Archived from the original on 31 July 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Lifter Julie has it all weighed up". The Hobart Mercury. 18 October 2000. p. 56.
  22. ^ "Deahnne McIntyre". Australian Paralympic Committee. Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2012.
  23. ^ "Epstein, Ramon: Australian Sports Medal". It's An Honour Website. Retrieved 31 May 2012.
  24. ^ "Sports Awards". QSport website. Retrieved 8 December 2016.