Sophie Pascoe. Credit: Photosport

Pascoe was born in Christchurch and started swimming at the age of seven. Her talent was discovered by Paralympians Roly Crichton and Graham Condon, who asked her to join the QEII Swim Club.

Following a tragic accident at a young age, Pascoe is a below-the-knee amputee. She made her first appearance at an international competition when she was 13, winning a bronze medal at the IPC Swimming World Championships in South Africa.

Just two years later, Pascoe competed at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, taking home three gold medals and one silver.

At 15, she was New Zealand’s youngest athlete at the Paralympics and became the youngest medal winner at the 2008 Games.

She was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2009 New Year’s Honours list, for services to swimming.

She was also the first winner of the Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award at the Halbergs in 2011. Pascoe went on to win this award in 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2018 as well.

In 2012, she competed at the London Paralympic Games, winning three gold and three silver medals. The following year she won five gold medals at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal.

She competed in her first Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, where she won two gold medals.

At the Rio Paralympics in 2016, Pascoe won five medals, taking her total Paralympic medals to 15 and making her New Zealand’s most decorated Paralympian ever. 

As of December 2017, she has four world records in the women’s 100m butterfly, women’s 400m individual medley, women’s 50m butterfly and women’s 200m individual medley.

On the Gold Coast, Pascoe will be defending her 100m breaststroke and 200m individual medley titles from Glasgow in 2014.