BAIRD Caroline, MBE

Caroline Baird MBE

Caroline (nee Innes) was a pupil at Bell Baxter High School in Fife and began her sporting career as a swimmer with Cupar and District Swimming Club. Caroline’s early coaching was provided by her local swimming club. Fife AC then helped to launch her career as one of the outstanding British sprinters of all time.

Introduced to disability sport by Disability Sport Fife, Caroline’s first representative honour came as a member of the Scottish Junior Squad that competed in the British Junior Swimming Championships at Stoke Mandeville. She was encouraged to try athletics and very quickly it was evident this was where she would excel. Caroline’s first major representative honour came as a member of the Scottish Youth Team that travelled to the World Games in Miami in 1989. It was obvious at that event she had international potential as a sprinter. Caroline launched herself into sprint training thereafter and athletics quickly became a way of life. Major representative honours then followed.

Caroline won 5 Paralympic medals of which 4 were gold. Her first Paralympic selection was Barcelona in 1992 and she returned with a gold medal. Further honours and medals followed in Atlanta and Sydney. She also won gold at the World Championships in Berlin in ’94 and Birmingham in ’98. For over a decade Caroline was recognised as the world’s leading sprinter in the T36 Class. She achieved times and set standards that had never been envisaged for a T36 athlete with cerebral palsy.
Caroline was a true superstar of women’s athletics. She pushed the boundaries and raised the standards in her class under the guidance of coach, John Oulton. Caroline was an incredibly determined athlete who challenged perceptions and broke down so many barriers in sprinting for athletes with cerebral palsy. Scottish Athletics and Scottish Disability Sport recognised her contribution to disability athletics by awarding her major accolades and awards. Caroline, husband John, and her two daughters live in Carnoustie. Caroline still serves as a member of the Disability Sport Fife management group and is a past Chieftan of Cupar Highland Games.