Sam Tait is an Australian para alpine skier that competes in the giant slalom, slalom and super-g disciplines (LW11). He was selected for his second Australian Paralympic Team for the Beijing 2022 Winter Games.
Growing up Sam enjoyed annual family holidays on the snowfields and was an experienced skier. In 2013, the then 22-year-old came off his motorbike and broke his T11 vertebrae, becoming a complete paraplegic. Encouraged by his family to return to the slopes, Sam took a sit-ski lesson just one month after finishing rehab and knew then that he wanted to incorporate skiing back into his life.
Sam joined the Australian Para-alpine skiing development squad and in 2016 he made his Australian competitive debut in Landgraaf, the Netherlands. At the 2017 IPC Alpine Skiing Europa Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland, Sam recorded a fourth-place finish in the men’s Super-G.
The NSW Institute of Sport scholarship holder made his Paralympic debut at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games where he competed in five events, placing 11 in the men’s downhill sitting and 17th in the men’s giant slalom.
At the 2019 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships, Sam achieved two top ten finishes – sixth in the men’s downhill sitting and tenth in the men’s giant slalom sitting.
The sit-skier secured his first ever podium finish at an international event when he claimed gold in the at the 2019/20 Europa Cup in Jasna, Slovakia.
In October 2021 the Winter Paralympian made the first unassisted ascent and decent of Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s the highest mountain, reaching the top in just over 7 hours.
At the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, the two-time Olympian didn’t have the success he’d hoped for, finishing 22nd in the giant slalom and recording DNFs in his other events. Sam has since vowed to come back stronger at Cortina 2026.
Image credit: L. Percival