Kieran Modra was killed when a car hit his bike near Gawler.
Kieran Modra was killed when a car hit his bike near Gawler.

Paralympics legend Kieran Modra killed in crash

SOUTH Australian Paralympian swimmer and cyclist Kieran Modra has died in a collision with a car near Gawler.

The visually impaired five-time Paralympics gold medallist was cycling to Clare from his home at Hallett Cove to see friends when he was hit by a Kia sedan on the Sturt Highway about 7am on Wednesday. The 47-year-old died at the scene.

Older brother Mark Modra said the family was "surprised, upset, all those usual emotions when you lose someone suddenly".

"We're coming to terms with what it means to us and particularly for his family. He's got three young girls and a wife that won't have him from here on," Mr Modra said.

"But he's certainly left a huge legacy and certainly quite an achievement from a Paralympic perspective.

"He was certainly one of these guys that would never give up. Nothing was impossible, absolutely nothing, there was no such thing as 'can't'."

 

Kieran Modra in 2016, with a gold medal he won at a Paralympics. Picture Campbell Brodie.
Kieran Modra in 2016, with a gold medal he won at a Paralympics. Picture Campbell Brodie.

The Kia driver - a 26-year-old Greenwith man - was not injured but was taken by ambulance to the Lyell McEwin Hospital as a precaution.

The highway was closed but has now been reopened after Major Crash investigators examined the scene.

Modra was an Australian Paralympic swimmer and tandem cyclist who won five gold and five bronze medals at eight Paralympic Games from 1988 to 2016.

He also won two silver medals at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Born in Port Lincoln in March 1972, he was married with three children.

Mr Modra said his brother had shown incredible resilience to compete in fast-paced sports that required fine motor skills, despite his visual impairment.

"He just didn't give up and I think that's an attribute that we all can benefit from because life's not easy for most people, but many people cruise through.

"He overcame many different obstacles and impediments, not just from a disability perspective.

"He seemed to perform better under adversity and has been many times going into the Olympics ... and not only did he get there, he often came through with a medal, and often a gold medal."

The tragedy followed an emotional plea on Monday from the state's top road cop, who criticised drivers for showing a "lack of concern and empathy" for the lives already lost this year, after six deaths in five days.

"If six people got murdered in the state of South Australia in the last five days, can you imagine the community outrage," Superintendent Bob Gray said.

"Yet there seems to be this total lack of concern and empathy within South Australia."

Modra's death brings the state's road toll to 97 this year, compared with 63 at the same time in 2018.

 

 

Kieran Modra, right, and his co-cyclist Tyson Lawrence, with their gold medals won for the 4000m individual pursuit at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008. Modra and Lawrence broke the world record at 4 minutes, 18.961 sec. Picture: AP / Andy Wong
Kieran Modra, right, and his co-cyclist Tyson Lawrence, with their gold medals won for the 4000m individual pursuit at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008. Modra and Lawrence broke the world record at 4 minutes, 18.961 sec. Picture: AP / Andy Wong