Trailblazing Paralympian Margaret Maughan dies aged 91

Margaret Maughan, Great Britain’s first Paralympic champion, has died at the age of 91.

Maughan won the landmark gold medal in archery at the 1960 Paralympics in Rome and went on to compete at five more Games.

She was a strong advocate for the Paralympic movement and lit the cauldron during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympics in London.

Following a road accident in Malawi in 1959, Maughan was paralyzed from the waist down. She was treated by Dr. Ludwig Guttmann in the UK, a leading neurologist who founded the Paralympic movement.

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“We mourn today the loss of one of Great Britain’s legends in Paralympic sport with the passing of Margaret Maughan,” said Nick Webborn, Chair of the British Paralympic Association.

“Although her passing is extremely sad, the fact that she lived until the age of 91 is testament to the work of Sir Ludwig Guttman who transformed the care of people with spinal cord injury, and that through sport people with disabilities can enjoy rich and fulfilling lives.

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“Margaret, we thank you and salute you for all that you did, and although we will miss you tremendously, we will never forget you.”

On top of her archery gold, Maughan also competed in swimming, winning gold in the 50m backstroke at the 1960 Paralympics when she was the only competitor in the event.

She also competed in dartchery, a hybrid of darts and archery, in 1972, and lawn bowls in 1980.

She won a total of five medals in her career, three gold and two silver.

“On behalf of British Para-Swimming we are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Margaret Maughan,” said British Para-Swimming’s National Performance Director Chris Furber.

“She was a huge inspiration and helped to pave the way for what the Paralympic movement has now become.

“Watching her light the cauldron in London was an incredible moment and she will be sorely missed by everyone involved in para sport.”