At her first Paralympic Games as a rower, Rachel Morris took gold in the women’s single sculls with a time of 5:13.69, ahead of China’s Wang Lili (5:16.65) and Israel’s reigning world champion Moran Samuel (5:17.46).
Rio 2016 was Morris’s third Paralympics but first in a boat. Competing in cycling, she won time trial gold at Beijing 2008 and bronze in the women’s road race at London 212. Morris wanted a new challenge so she switched to rowing in 2013.
One year later, she finished second at a World Cup in Aiguebelette, France, and fifth at the World Championships in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Morris underwent successful shoulder surgery in April 2015 but recovered in time to place fourth at a World Cup in Varese, Italy. She steadily found her way back, taking silver at the 2015 World Championships 1.10 seconds behind the winner, Israel’s Moran Samuel.
Morris had both legs amputated due to complications of chronic regional pain syndrome.
Further personal information
Sport specific information
She suffered shoulder injuries and whiplash in July 2012 as a result of a collision with a car. (bbc.co.uk, 10 Jul 2012)
She dislocated her shoulder after crashing during a training ride in Bath, England, a month before the 2011 World Para Cycling Championships in Roskilde, Denmark. (bbc.co.uk, 16 Sep 2011)
She received the 2016 Para Crew of the Year award from the International Rowing Federation [FISA]. (worldrowing.com, 02 Dec 2016)
She was named the BBC National Athlete with an Impairment of the Year in 2007. (paralympics.org.uk, 26 Jun 2012)
She became the first British female Para Nordic skier to compete at the world championships when she took part in the 2019 edition in Prince George, BC, Canada. (bbc.com, 17 Feb 2019; SportsDeskOnline, 27 Nov 2020)
She runs her own motivational speaking and leadership clinics and also works part-time as a community health engagement officer for Millbrook Healthcare in Guildford, England. (LinkedIn profile, 01 Jan 2020)
She won gold medals in handcycling  and rowing  at the Paralympic Games, but then spent almost a year in hospital recovering from shoulder surgery following the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. She thought her sporting career was at an end but decided to try Para Nordic skiing after talking to Scott Meenagh, who lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan. Meenagh had got involved in the sport as part of his rehabilitation. "When I saw Scott competing, I thought it looked amazing and when I contacted him, he said it was definitely my sport. I've always wanted to do a winter sport and the opportunity just came along. Part of me wondered if I was stupid for wanting to start at the bottom again, but the other part of me was saying it was a great opportunity and I should give it a go and see what happens. It is amazing to get to that standard in another sport. [Skiing] brings together a lot of my strong points and it is very similar to the physiological demand rowing puts on you." (bbc.com, 17 Feb 2019)
She has used her success in a number of sports to inspire the next generation of athletes, which includes devising a course on emotional resilience through The Teen Summit organisation. "[I want] to try and assist those struggling with mental health, physical disabilities, family breakdowns and being a teenager." (gbsnowsport.com, 18 Dec 2018)
|Women's Middle Distance - Free Style Sitting||Final||2019-02-17||7|
|Women's Sprint - Free Style Sitting||Final||2019-02-18||6|
|Women's Long Distance - Classic Sitting||Final||2019-02-24||5|