Emily Petricola is a WC4 classified para-cyclist striving to make the Australian National Para-Cycling team for the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. In 2007, following the sudden onset of numbness throughout her body, Emily was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She was 27. Subsequent and frequent MS attacks severely impacted Emily’s sight and balance. Further debilitating symptoms she experienced – including extreme fatigue, loss of sight, loss of foot and hand function, foot drop, pain, tingling and numbness through her whole body – rendered even basic tasks challenging and incapacitated Emily for a number of years.
Having always been involved in sporting pursuits before the onset of MS, and encouraged by her network of supporters, Emily remained determined to engage in physical activity. Just over three years ago, her friend and colleague (two-time Olympian Matt Ryan) offered to oversee her training and emboldened Emily to dream big. The seed of the Tokyo Paralympic dream was sown!
Emily’s sheer determination sees her rise to the challenges of her intense training schedule while simultaneously remaining committed to her role as a teacher in Melbourne, where she has recently relocated back to after a stint in the UAE. Her unwavering focus ensures Emily is consistently able to push herself through challenges, physical setbacks – and the alarm going off at 4:30am!
In 2018 Emily went to the World Track Championships. She started her first international campaign with a bronze in the 500TT, and followed this up with a silver in the Pursuit after breaking the world record in the qualifying rounds.
If you had a time machine & you could go back 10 years
It will all be ok – things will get better
- If there was a movie made about your life, who would play you?
Emma Stone – quirky sense of humour and somewhat athletic
- If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
To be able to warp time so I could have a bit more time for sleep, teaching preparation, teaching, meeting with students, marking, training, cooking meals with proper nutrition, etc.
- Who or what motivates you?
The people who work with me as well as those who have supported and believed in me – when even I haven’t – are what help to motivate me. I also want to see what this body of mine, that is so compromised in so many ways, can actually achieve despite these limitations.
- Which emojis best describe your philosophy on life (Maximum of 3 emojis allowed)