Paralympians' Club

Kenneth Cairns

Kenny had a motorcycle accident in 1974 aged 16, resulting in a spinal injury and paralysis.

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He began swimming in 1976 for fitness only and went to his first competition, the National Stoke Mandeville Games, the following year. He made quite an impression by winning all the swimming events he entered. Kenny took a break from swimming to finish his education at college.

He was back training again in 1982 and qualified for the 1984 Paralympic Games at Stoke Mandeville where he won 4 golds and a silver. He went onto qualify for the Games in Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney and Athens, medalling at each one. Kenny was on course for qualifying for Beijing with world championship success in 2006 in the 100m and 200m freestyle events. Kenny recorded personal best times in these events – an incredible feat for someone who had been competing for 20 years. However, ill health curtailed his ability to train and Kenny has since retired from international swimming.

Kenny is a qualified draftsman but gave up his to train full time for the Sydney Games. He is a keen harmonica player and attends the National Championships in Bristol each year, winning the Jazz section in 2009. Kenny was awarded the Skol Sportsman of the year in 1984, the Great Scot Award in 1992 and was made a Member of the Order of British Empire in 2001. Kenny is now living in Renfrewshire.

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