Ambassador of the Foundation


Terence Parkin is a deaf swimmer from South Africa. He was born 12 April 1980 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. With a sporting career spanning 15 years, Terence has competed internationally and professionally for 11 of these years. Terence won a silver medal at the Sydney Olympics and is the Deaflympics’ most successful sportsman since its inception in 1929. He has amassed no fewer than 29 gold medals, as well as one silver and one bronze medal (for cycling) at 4 Deaflympic Games meetings. Terence currently holds 50 Deaf World Records in the long and short course pool. He is referred to as the ‘Silent Torpedo’ and the Michael Phelps of the Deaflympics.

Terence took a break from swimming for a few years and entered several triathlons and cycling races. He won the World Deaf Cycling Championships in the 120km road race in California, 2005. Locally, he has competed in many major sporting evenings: Dusi Canoe Marathon, Sani2C, Amashovashova, and the 94.7 Cycle Challenge.

Terence has received the following awards nationally and internationally: World Deaf Sportsman of the Year (1997, 2000, 2001, 2005), CISS Sportsman of the Century (2000), SA Schools Sportsman of the Year (2002), Gold Presidential Awards (2000, 2001, 2002).

Terence’s success can be attributed to his sheer will and dedication to training. He spends many hours a day either in the water or on his bicycle. Through his hard work and commitment, Terence has changed the face of deaf sport internationally, setting a standard that other deaf sportspeople strive to attain. Sportsmen and heroes, such as Roland Schoeman, have commented that they would be unable to endure Terence’s grueling daily training schedule. In 2011, Parkin saved a young boy from drowning.

During his sporting career he has been awarded 400 gold medals, 200 silver medals and 50 bronze medals.

Highlights include:

  • Sydney Olympics 2000, Silver medal 200m breast stroke.
  • 30 gold medals, 6 silver medals and 10 bronze medals at the SA National Champs between 1996 and 2006.
  • 2 x Commonwealth Games (Kuala Lampur and Manchester) – silver medal.
  • All Africa Games (4 gold medals, 3 records).
  • Pan Pacific Champs (Bronze).
  • Deaflympics, 1997, 2001, 2005 and 2009: 29 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze (for cycling).
  • Midmar Mile – two-time winner.


Success is 90% attitude and 10% training…with the right attitude you can do anything. The worst disability is a bad attitude!

-Terence Parkin