SwimmingRowan Crothers Turns The Clock Back As He Celebrates Paralympic Gold

Rowan Crothers Turns The Clock Back As He Celebrates Paralympic Gold

Rowan Crothers Turns The Clock Back To The Mean Machine As He Celebrates Paralympic Gold

Bald-headed Queenslander Rowan Crothers has emerged as a modern day inclusion into Australia’s famed “Mean Machine Hall of Fame” after his power-packed performance winning Paralympic gold in Tokyo last night.

What followed his win in the 50m freestyle (S10 classification) has captured the hearts of Aussie sports fans with a must watch post race celebration and an insightful interview.

Rowan and Brooksie

LEAN AND MEAN: Rowan Crothers celebrates his 2020 gold (above) and Neil Brooks shows his elation to win Commonwealth gold in 1986. Photos Courtesy: Delly Carr (Paralympics Australia) and News Ltd.

The 23-year-old, who was born with cerebal palsy, has emerged as a new cult figure of Australian Paralympics conjuring memories of Australian swimming’s famed “Mean Machine” kings Neil Brooks and Greg Fasala who became the first Australian swimmers to shave their heads at the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.

Brooks and Fasala kept their shaved heads a secret – arriving for the finals in bandanas and Akubra hats – making a reveal after walking behind the blocks and then winning the 4x100m – and christened the Mean Machine (by yours truly) in the News Ltd papers the next day. Along with fellow relay team mates Graeme Brewer and Michael Delany (in 1982) and Mark Stockwell for Brewer (in 1984) and Matthew Renshaw for Delany (in 1986) adopted the Mean Machine name –Australia’s 4x100m freestyle relay teams that won Olympic silver in ’84 and Commonwealth gold in ’82 and ’86.

Crothers showed that same unabashed Aussie Mean Machine power and determination that captured the imagination of the swimming world back in the early to mid 80s by Brooksie and his band of brothers…who were prepared to do anything for their country in the pool, even shave their heads.

1982 mean machine

1982 Mean Machine (L-R) Neil Brooks, Graeme Brewer, Michael Delany, Greg Fasala.  Photo Courtesy: News Ltd.

There is no doubt that the Mean Machine team members like so many Australians watching on Channel 7s Live broadcast, they would have seen Crothers last night and thought: “That’s my boy….you little ripper.”

Crothers powered home to touch the wall in a sizzling 23.21 – just 0.05 outside the world record that he had nudged in the heat in 23.25 – before jumping onto the lane rope throwing his arms in the air like a UFC prizefighter and then losing his balance and tumbling into the lane next to him – much to the surprise of Brazilian bronze medallist Pheilpe Melo Rodrigues.

“There are so many people who have done so much for me ..I have the easiest job in the world..I just do what I’m told…I have my coaches, Kate Sparkes (nee Irvine) (who is here in Tokyo), Robbie Van Der Zant and Toby and all my support crew from the QAS..my psyche,” said Crothers.

Rowan and coach Kate Sparkes hug

GOLDEN HUGS (above): Rowan Crothers and a special moment with coach Kate Sparkes and a photo to saviour  Photos Courtesy: Yeronga Park Facebook Page.


Rowan and coach Kate Sparkes

And a massive community of people who are all there supporting me and helping me get to the top, so this gold medal is not just mine it’s all of there’s too,” Crothers told fellow Paralympian, 1996 track and field gold medallist Katrina Webb, on the 7 Network broadcast in Australia.

“The reality is that when I was really young my disability was so severe…I started swimming to help my cerebal palsy as a kind of therapy and if it wasn’t discovering the Paralympics I would never have ever come close to this….it’s amazing to come up and do this now and to prove that I’m not just a person with a disability I’m also an elite athlete.”

And on the medal? “It’s absolutely beautiful and I’m just so proud to have come here and done such an amazing job; to everyone back home I’m so thankful for everything (and especially) one of my mates who I train with he said if I win the raced he’d buy me a chicken palmy and a ginger beer and I can’t wait for that when I get home now…

“I’m just so thrilled..thanks you all…I have waited for this my whole life and when to actually do it I can’t believe how amazing it feels…its absolutely incredible….”


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