Gearing Up for Rio 

August 03, 2015

Jess Gallagher is a prodigious athlete, having represented Australia in both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. Jess was the first Australian woman to win a medal at the Winter Games at Vancouver in 2010, and most recently won bronze at the Sochi Paralympics for the Giant Slalom.

What makes Jess' story so incredible is that she is legally blind, having been diagnosed with cone dystrophy when she was 17 years old. The degenerative condition has taken away 90 per cent of Jess' central vision, but that hasn't slowed her down in the slightest.

On the contrary... Jess still gets out on the road to ride her bike and is now looking to compete on the track at Rio 2016. So if her campaign is successful it means Jess will be representing Australia in yet another sporting discipline... Amazing!

Listening to Jess talk about her training and racing is mind-boggling. Imagine going out for your early morning ride before the sun rises, but with only the lowest of low light beams available to you. Or imagine racing down a Black Diamond descent at full-gas, hardly been able to make out any objects as you fly by... When you start trying to 'see' how Jess experiences the world, you really begin to appreciate that Jess isn't the type of person who simply confronts a fear or an obstacle - she eats them for breakfast.

Click through to more great Everything Bike videos and reads here

In another great Off The Bike episode, Jess talks to Shane Kelly about her love of sport, how it has impacted her life and what motivates her to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible.

She also talks about her hands-on approach as a Board Director for Vision 20/20 Australia and the work she does helping people that are vision impaired and educating the public about common health problems that can contribute to vision impairments.

For a seriously interesting chat, check out this full interview.


Thanks to Beasley Cycles (awesome supporters of Jess Gallagher) for letting us set up shop in their store for this catch-up.

Check out other stories from the Shane Kelly Off the Bike series:

  • Emma Carney - not one to let a cardiac arrest stop her from completing a swim session.

  • Tim Spiteri - a human 'meteor' on an epic ocean adventure.

  • Bridie O'Donnell - a tenacious force in women's cycling.

  • Billy-Joe Shearsby - the self-confessed 'flash in the pain' world champion cyclist who caught the attention and admiration of a young Bradley Wiggins.

  • Tammy Foster - how two siblings' cancer journey is now helping others.

  • Dave Sanders - behind every exceptional coach lies an exceptional athlete.

  • Josiah Ng - the power of five, the mysterious world of Keirin track cycling in Japan, and life post bike for this Malaysian champion.

  • Lance Picioane - former AFL player helping young people struggling with mental illness reach their full potential.

  • John Bylsma - two time Olympian and Common Wealth Games Silver medalist believes in quality (training) over quantity.

  • Frank Zanatta - The man who has raced 34 Melbourne to Warrnambools.

Keep up with the Shane Kelly series and plenty more - like us on Facie or subscribe to our email