Growing up with five sisters, Evan O’Hanlon jokes that he had to learn to be fast on his feet if he wanted to eat. Involved in athletics at school, he was encouraged by a PE teacher to begin competing as an athlete with a disability, and then linked to a coach through the APC Talent Search Program.
Evan exploded onto the world athletics stage in 2005, the same year he began competing, and immediately created a name for himself in Paralympic sprinting, which he later cemented at his Paralympic debut in Beijing. There he won the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay in world record time, becoming the first athlete with cerebral palsy to break the 11-second barrier over 100m.
At the 2011 world championships, Evan again won gold in the 100m and 200m and, keen to push himself, also tried his hand at the 400m and long jump, placing second and fourth, respectively.
Evan’s outstanding form continued at the London Games, where he again won gold in the 100m and 200m events in world record time. Fittingly, he was chosen to carry the flag at the Games’ Closing Ceremony and was named Male Athlete of the Year at the 2012 Paralympian of the Year Awards.
At London in 2012, Evan became the fastest Australian Paralympian ever when he ran the 100m in 10.79 seconds. He also qualified for the able-bodied National Championships after winning the 100m at the ACT titles in 2015.
Evan had hoped to break his world record at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and set it so low that no one would ever touch it. Unfortunately, as Evan later reflected, it just wasn’t his Games. He crossed for silver in the 100m, and an injury flare-up caused him not to compete in the 400m.
He made a successful return to London at the 2017 World Para Athletics Championships in July, regain his T38 100m crown. It was his eighth gold medal and 11th medal at the IPC World Championships. He equalled Neil Fuller as the male athlete with most medals and most gold medals.His medal in London ensured automatic selection for Evan in the T38 100m at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The champion sprinter credits his success to his coach of 10 years and the most influential person in his life, Iryna Dvoskina. He also admires Australian Paralympic great and former squad member, Heath Francis’ dedication to training.The Canberra local has a degree in landscape architecture and owns a café, Superfine, with his wife, Czech Republic race walker Zuzana Schindlerová.