Last night, 2000 Australian summer Paralympic swimmer David Rolfe died as a result of complications related three separate heart surgeries he had in the past year.
While Rolfe medaled at the 2000 Games in swimming, in recent years he was a big advocate for para-canoe and the sport’s successful attempt to get it onto the Paralympic program for Rio. Internationally, he represented Australia in the sport at the 2010 ICF Canoe Sprint World Championship. He originally took up paddling in 1991, worked as a whitewater rafting guide for a few years, and formally took up flatwater canoeing in October 2009. He was coached by Andrea Wood and based out of the Gold Coast Canoe Club.
As a swimmer, Rolfe made his international debut for Australia at the International Debut International Paralympic Committee World Swimming Champs – Christchurch, New Zealand 1998
In an e-mail published to the HOPAU mailing list Rolfie won a relay bronze in swimming in 2000 and was a very popular and respected member of the swim team. As one of the older athletes (36 at the time of the Games), he played a big role in bringing the team together and mentoring the younger athletes.
“His real passion, however, was canoeing and kayaking, and he was a great advocate for Para-canoe in its push for Paralympic inclusion and in promoting it once it was included. He even appeared in a video for the International Canoe Federation to promote the sport he loved.
“He was a great ambassador for Paralympic sport.”
Born in Inverell, New South Wales on June 26, 1964, Rolfe later moved to Gold Coast, Queensland. He is survived by his wife and adult child. Outside of swimming and canoeing, he enjoyed cycling, rock climbing and sailing.