Swimmer Sophie Pascoe was acknowledged for her elite performances and inspiration as an multi-Commonwealth, Paralympic and World Championship medal winning athlete, being named flag bearer for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
At Gold Coast 2018 Pascoe brilliantly retained her position as reigning Commonwealth Games champion, winning gold medals once more in the 100m Breatstroke SB9 and the 200m medley SM10.
Pascoe has won four gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, nine Paralympic gold medals and is multiple World Champion.
At Rio for her third Paralympic appearance, Sophie won five medals and broke a world record while taking her total tally to 15 Paralympic medals. This success has now made Pascoe the most decorated New Zealand Paralympian ever!
A below the knee amputee following a lawnmower accident at two years of age, Pascoe first revealed her future ability competing at the CCS Independence Games when Paralympians Roly Crichton and Graham Condon were impressed by Sophie's potential and asked her to join the QEII Swim Club.
From there the para athlete - who has been coached for the past 14 years by Crichton - made rapid progress bagging a bronze medal on her international debut aged just 13 at the IPC Swimming World Championships in South Africa.
It was this performance which "fast-forwarded" her career and just two years later surprised many to truly emerge on the international stage by securing three gold and one silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games.
Suddenly thrust into the public spotlight, the Halberg award-winning Pascoe has continued to flourish.
At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Christchurch swim sensation bagged three gold and three silver medals. The following year Pascoe achieved her career highlight with five gold medals at the 2013 IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal.