After losing her left leg in a scooter accident at the age of 17, Natalie Du Toit started swimming again even before she was walking. She soon emerged as a world-class performer, making history when she became the first disabled athlete to qualify for the 800m able-bodied freestyle final in the 2002 Commonwealth Games. At the same Games, she won both the multi-disability 50m freestyle and the multi-disability 100m freestyle in a world record time.
Du Toit again made history when she qualified for the 2008 able-bodied Beijing Olympics, where she finished 16th in the 10km open water race.
In 2010, she was awarded the Laureus World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for “breaking down the barriers between disabled and able-bodied sport”.
Du Toit is a multiple gold medal winner at the Paralympics, winning five in 2004 (as well as a silver) and five more in 2008. She plans to retire from swimming after the 2012 Paralympic Games.