The Feisty, Fabulous Superstar Who Loves Taking On Her Trolls
Australia, it's time you got to know the country's new face of para sports.
Two words that say a lot about Madison de Rozario.
The 24 year-old is a feisty, fabulous para sports athlete who is rapidly becoming the face of para sports in Australia after the recent retirement of Kurt Fearnley.
Remember the Commonwealth Games earlier this year?
De Rozario was incredible, winning both the 1500m and the marathon. But some people just couldn't accept para athletes competing on the same stage as other athletes.
Some people said as much on social media. Oops.
Think about Madi's reply for a moment. The advice many athletes get these days is to stay silent not engage. But that's just not her way.
"I was so ready for a fight and I was hoping they'd respond but they didn't," de Rozario told 10 daily about that little Twitter exchange.
"We should never have to justify why we're filling a space. And I think we've been showing why we deserve to be there."
No doubt about that.
After the Gold Coast, de Rozario jetted off to the London Marathon. Expectations were not high just a week after the Comm Games. But she won with a daring move in the final stages. She really is pushing athletic boundaries -- and sponsors are coming to the party.
De Rozario is a young active, Australian woman who enjoys fashion, and she loves portraying herself as exactly that on her social media feed. She says it's not about disability. It's about living life. About being who she is.
“In that Under Armour video you could see the race track, you saw the wheelchair, but it was me, you saw the work, you saw the athlete. The disability never came into it. I loved that about it," she said earlier this year.
Madison de Rozario is a fit, attractive elite athlete with a healthy outdoorsy lifestyle. Her social media feed celebrates that.
She's spoken out about the many messages she receives on social media -- most are supportive, but she often gets aggressive, sexual and sometimes scary comments from men.
The athlete screen grabs them and puts them on her feed so that her followers can see.
She also celebrates her dog on social media. It's often about the dog.
Little fella's name is Sebastian, by the way.
Simply by being herself, de Rozario is helping Aussies recast the way we view people who live with disability. She's without doubt one of the most important, influential people in Australian sport right now.
And with any luck, a generation of Madis is just around the corner.
"Honestly it's incredible," de Rozario said of the one-off funding boost, which the Australian Paralympic Committee hopes will be matched in years to come through corporate sponsorship and donations, direct response appeals, equipment partners and more.
"This is something that we've been pushing for so long. The biggest barrier to para sport is the cost of the equipment."
De Rozario is coached by Louise Sauvage, the nine-time Paralympic gold medallist who was a star of the Sydney 2000 Games.
In a typically forthright and feisty column earlier this year, de Rozario told how Sauvage trains alongside her on the rower, sweating it out while she sweats it out. She found that inspirational. But true to her cheeky nature, she couldn't resist bagging her coach.
"Oh my god, she yells at me all the time. All the time!" she wrote.
10 daily put this damning allegation to Sauvage.
"I do not!" Sauvage protested.
"Oh OK, I do yell at her sometimes. Not all of the time but definitely, my job is to make sure she's on task, and getting what she needs out of the session so her focus is there.
"Let's not waste a moment, let's make the most of everything."
When you meet Madison de Rozario, you get the impression she's taking that last piece of coaching advice into every single aspect of her life.