Date of birth22 August 1985
Sam was born with a genetic eye condition known as corneal dystrophy, meaning he cannot see in colour and has reduced central vision. He was introduced to Judo by his brother while still at university studying for a degree in broadcasting, and he instantly knew he had found the perfect sport for him. He enjoyed the competitive and physical nature of the sport and he didn’t need perfect vision to take part.
Sam’s consistent performances secured his position as the most decorated athlete on the British Judo Paralympic Programme. He represented Paralympics GB at London 2012, taking silver, to add to the bronze medal he secured at Beijing in 2008 in the under 90kg category. The 2016 Paralympics in Rio marked Sam’s third consecutive Games, where he finished just outside a medal in fifth place.
Sam also won silver medals on four occasions at the World Championships in 2007, 2010, 2015 and 2018, as well as enjoying success at the European Championships achieving gold in 2011 and 2013 and bronze in both 2010 and 2015.
Sam retired from competitive judo in 2019 but remains with JudoScotland as a Regional Development Officer and continues to inspire both on and off the mat.