Paralympian gold medallist Sandy Yaxley sharing positive outlook through art


Paralympic gold medal winner, Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, Sandra Yaxley (OAM) is presenting her first ever gallery opening, Wakes and Petals. Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Paralympic gold medal winner, Swimming Hall of Fame inductee, Sandra Yaxley (OAM) is presenting her first ever gallery opening, Wakes and Petals. Picture: Andrew Ritchie

“I DON’T want my disability to be an issue; I do have one, but so what?”

Sandy Yaxley’s refreshingly positive attitude has led her to a list of life achievements that some only dream about.

The 48-year-old Paralympic swimmer , who has cerebral palsy that has caused a hearing impairment, is showing no signs of slowing down with setting herself new goals and achieving them.

In her multifaceted career, Yaxley has won five gold medals from competing in the 1988 Seoul and 1992 Barcelona Paralympics, achieved two world records, run her own business, coached swimming, was inducted into the Swimming WA Hall of Fame Australia and is now an accomplished artist.

She is hosting her first art exhibition in Leederville titled Wakes and Petals featuring 21 of her paintings, which represent her swimming career, her love for flowers and how they are connected through water.

Yaxley said did not feel nervous about showing her work publicly for the first time.

“I was quite calm,” she said.

“I’ve done eight years at Tafe doing my diploma, I was in the middle of doing it but health (issues) popped up and I couldn’t finish it, and now they’re not doing that course anymore but I’ve had my own business; I had my own shop up in Roleystone so I knew how to do it,” she said.

“I did have some help.”

Yaxley said she when she took up art, she knew it would be hard to paint traditionally with a brush with her condition affecting her dexterity, so she adapted, using her fingers and sponges instead.

“It will not hamper me, as I have always been mainstream,” she said.

“I have done so much with my life; my parents haven’t made my disability an issue, even as a child.”

Some of Yaxley’s art is for sale.

What: Wakes and Petals art exhibition

Where: Ink Remedy, 257/261 Oxford Street, Leederville

When: until November 11