Real Life

Paralympian Carl Murphy's family bliss

Inspiring Kiwi paralympian, Carl Murphy is ready to take on a new challenge.

By Aroha Awarau
Nobody understands the highs and lows of top-level sport like a paralympian, and now athlete Carl Murphy is ready to experience another all-time high – of a different sort.
The snowboarder, who is a below-the-knee amputee, together with his family – wife Aleisha (33) and three-year-old Oliver – are eagerly awaiting the arrival of another baby. And his growing family is giving 34-year-old Carl even more motivation to succeed.
“I want to show my children that whatever you do, always dream,” he tells.
Carl was thrilled to have his family supporting him at the winter Paralympics in Russia.
Carl competed in March at the winter Paralympics in Russia, and although he was ranked first in the world and was a shoo-in for the gold medal, a devastating injury months before ruined his chance for a spot on the podium.
While he didn’t get to hear the New Zealand national anthem being played for him, he was thrilled to have Aleisha and little Oliver in Russia for support. And Aleisha says being there was worth much more than any gold medal.
“It was important for Oliver to see his dad never giving up. He was so proud of him,” she explains with a smile.
Carl met Aleisha when the pair were at high school in New Plymouth. Aleisha says she was drawn to Carl’s positive attitude – and the fact he was missing part of his leg never bothered her.
Carl was born with his left foot not fully developed, and had his leg amputated at age two. His condition never stopped Carl from being active – he even played representative hockey.
“None of my friends were disabled, so I had to keep up with them,” says Carl. “I did what every other able person did.”
Growing up in the shadow of Mt Taranaki, Carl was always drawn to recreational activities. He developed a love of snowboarding, but only started competing in 2007, at the age of 27.
Now he splits his time between Colorado and Lake Wanaka, training, while working part-time at an architecture firm in Wanaka as a draftsman.
Carl carves up the snow.
Yet Carl says it’s Aleisha who is powering his dreams. Most of the time she’s at their Kiwi home, raising their son. Carl says his wife’s devotion is what truly drives him. “Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” he tells.
In 2015, Carl will continue his training, looking towards the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea. And, of course, he will be raising his new baby.
“It has always been the plan to extend our family and now the pressure of the 2014 Games has gone, it’s the perfect time to welcome another bundle of joy.”

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