By Tom Degun

Kieran Modra_12_JuneJune 12 - Paralympic tandem cycling legend Kieran Modra will miraculously lead the Australian cycling team at London 2012 – despite an horrific accident last year that almost cost him his life.

The visually impaired 40-year-old from Port Lincoln (pictured top, at front) is one of Australia's most recognisable multi-sports Paralympians, having won four gold medals at the Games.

He first competed at the Paralympics in Seoul in 1988 in athletics before switching to swimming at Barcelona in 1992 and then cycling at Atlanta in 1996, a sport he has stuck with ever since.

However, the worst was feared last December when he broke two vertebrae in his neck and one in his lower spine after colliding with a car on the road while out training on his bike.

The accident occurred shortly after he broke his collarbone earlier in the year and it was feared that Modra may not survive.

But in a super-human recovery, Modra has worked his way back to full fitness and will lead his nation's 15-strong cycling team at London 2012 after being selected by the Australian Paralympic Committee (APC).

"My whole world turned upside down, physically and mentally, in a flash," recalled Modra of his accident while speaking at the team announcement at the Adelaide Superdrome.

"In the back of my mind I was still focused on getting to London, but I knew I was in pretty bad shape.

"I knew my chances were very slim but I didn't give up.

"I'm just delighted to have made it.

"Every Games is different and I never tire of the electrifying atmosphere the Games generates."

Felicity Johnson_12_June
Modra is joined in the team by fellow Beijing 2008 Paralympic champion Michael Gallagher with 2008 Paralympic silver medallist Felicity Johnson (pictured above, at rear) also included.

"I'm confident this cycling team is one of the strongest Australia has ever produced for a Paralympic Games," said APC chief executive and 2012 Team Chef de Mission Jason Hellwig.

"There is a tremendous amount of talent in this team and each athlete is looking in top condition.

At the Track World Championships earlier this year, Australia claimed seven gold medals – four of them won by athletes new to the team.

"If that is any indication as to the strength in the team then I think we can expect a number of podium finishes in London," predicted Hellwig.

Cycling has been one of Australia's most successful Paralympic sports, and since it was introduced to the Games in Seoul in 1988, the country has won 28 golds, 20 silvers and 22 bronze medals.

To view the full 2012 Australian Paralympic cycling team, click here.

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