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Paralympian Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson becomes new Aussie cult hero

Julian Linden, September 1, 2021 7:00PM News Corp Australia Network

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Grant “Scooter” Patterson celebrates with his silver from the men’s 50m breaststroke final at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Picture: Getty Images media_cameraGrant “Scooter” Patterson celebrates with his silver from the men’s 50m breaststroke final at the Tokyo Paralympic Games. Picture: Getty Images


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Scooter mania* has taken over the Tokyo Paralympics.

The little Aussie larrikin* has become the toast of Tokyo through his inspiring swimming performances in the pool and his ­wicked sense of humour.

Whether he’s hamming it up* at medal ceremonies or cracking jokes on national TV, Aussies just can’t get enough of Grant Patterson, better known as Scooter ­because of the tricycle he rides.

“It’s going nuts,” Patterson said.

“I’m very thankful for all the people back home that are supporting me but I nearly need a receptionist here to answer all the messages because I don’t like to leave people short.”

In case you missed it, that last bit was a classic self-­deprecating* gag, because Patterson has diastrophic dysplasia, a form of dwarfism*.

Scooter often jokes about his condition but he’s deadly serious about swimming and helping others with disabilities.

media_cameraAustralia’s Grant Patterson competes in the men’s 50m breaststroke SB2 heat before going on to take silver in the final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre on August 31, 2021. Picture: AFP

He’s won two medals in Tokyo – a bronze in the 150m medley on Saturday, August 28, and a silver in 50m breaststroke on Tuesday, August 31 – but his biggest impact has been out of the water.

He’s had fan mail from celebrities and supermodels, but the ones that have meant the most to him have come from ordinary mums and dads whose own children have the same impairment* as him.

“That’s very touching, it’s really special, so I make sure I reach out to them and give them my email and number,” he said.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 7 media_cameraGrant “Scooter” Patterson congratulates the winner of the men’s 50m breaststroke Arnulfo Castorena from Mexico. Picture: Getty Images

Patterson’s silver on Tuesday was among an astonishing 12 medals – two golds, four silvers and six bronzes – won by Australia that day.

Six medals came from the road cycling team, while our swimmers and athletes provided three each.

Col Pearse, who won a bronze medal in 100m butterfly, said watching Scooter collect his medal saved him from a complete meltdown before his race.

Pearse, who lost his right foot as a toddler in an accident with a ride-on lawnmower, said he started to shake uncontrollably before his race.

“I had pins and needles in my hand. I couldn’t actually feel my hands. I had to pour water on my hand to try and get the feeling back,” he said.

2020 Tokyo Paralympics - Day 7 media_cameraCol Pearse collects his bronze medal for the men’s butterfly S10 final on day 7 at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre. Picture: Getty Images

Jasmine Greenwood, 16, took silver in the women’s 100m butterfly after being just touched out for gold on the wall.

In cycling, Darren Hicks won the men’s 24km C2 time trial, Emily Petricola took silver in the women’s C4 time trial, Meg Lemon took bronze in the same race, Paige Greco won a bronze medal in the women’s C1-C3 time trial and Alistair Donohoe won bronze in the men’s Class 5 race.

Carol Cooke, 60, became the second oldest Australian woman to get on the podium at the Paralympics when she took silver in the women’s T1-T2 time trial.

Aussie Carol Cooke rides her way to silver, a month removed from her 60th birthday. Picture: Jeff Crowe/Sport the library/PA media_cameraCyclist Carol Cooke, 60, rides her way to silver in the women’s T1-T2 time trial. Picture: PA

In athletics, James Turner blitzed his rivals to win the men’s T36 class 400m gold in a Paralympic Games’ record time of 52.80 seconds.

Jaryd Clifford won a bronze medal in the 1500m run for visually impaired athletes and Madi de Rozario won a bronze in the women’s 1500m wheelchair.


  • mania: great enthusiasm, obsession
  • larrikin: a cheeky person, someone who misbehaves in a playful way
  • hamming it up: behaving in an exaggerated or playful way
  • self-­deprecating: when someone is critical or makes fun of themself
  • dwarfism: a medical condition that causes people to be of short stature
  • impairment: when part of a person’s mind or body is damaged or not working properly


Cyclists score first of six Aussie golds

Paralympics kick off in blaze of colour

How the Paralympics became a world sporting spectacular

From laps in dam to Paralympic dream


  1. Why is Grant Patterson nicknamed Scooter?
  2. What events does Grant Patterson compete in?
  3. How many medals did Australia win at the Paralympics on Tuesday, August 31?
  4. What two medals has Grant Patterson won?
  5. Who became the second oldest Australian woman to win a medal at the Paralympics?


1. Great character
First, make a list of the character traits that have endeared Scooter to the Australian public and his teammates.

Then, write a paragraph explaining what life lesson you can take from Scooter’s story.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability

2. Extension
In the story, Scooter is quoted making a self-deprecating gag about himself. While it is not okay to make jokes about others that might hurt their feelings, it can be humorous to make jokes about unique aspects of ourselves if we are comfortable with those elements of uniqueness. Write a paragraph to explain something that is unique about you that you would be happy to laugh with others about and why you feel comfortable about this.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity 
Curriculum Links: English; Personal and Social Capability

A Joke A Day Keeps the Doctor Away
We know Scooter (Grant Patterson) loves a joke. Laughing is not only good for the soul, it’s actually very good for your health.

So let’s be really healthy and write a joke to share with Scooter, a classmate or a family member, and see if you can make someone smile or laugh today.

You can decide if you read the joke out to your person of choice, or you may like to leave it somewhere for them to find and read.

Don’t forget to use your neat handwriting and correct punctuation, or the joke might not make sense.

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