Bibliophile | Lisa Curry shares memoir on life, love & loss

Lisa: A memoir – 60 Years of life, love & loss
by Lisa Curry with Ellen Whinnett
Harper Collins

Lisa Curry has sorted through 60 years of memorabilia and memories and got together with Walkley Award-winning journalist Ellen Whinnett to put together a record of the experiences that have shaped her – the highs and lows of starting out and starting again.

The second of three children, water has always been in her life, from days at the beach to outings on the family boat, to escaping the muggy Brisbane heat at the local pool. This was where, at the age of 10, Lisa was spotted by Harry Gallagher, the same person who had spotted 11 year-old Dawn Fraser’s potential at the Balmain Baths.

Despite an allergy to chlorine, Lisa became one of the fastest swimmers in her age group in the country, and school was something she did reluctantly in the hours between training. Over the next 23 years, she competed in three Olympic Games (Moscow 1980, Los Angeles 1984 and Barcelona 1992), three Commonwealth Games and two world championships.

Lisa became the only Australian to hold Commonwealth and Australian records in every stroke except backstroke from 50 to 400 metres. When her eldest daughter beat her in a sprint down the pool, she knew it was time to hang up her goggles.

Grant Kenny was a legendary Australian sportsman after winning both the Junior and Senior Ironman Championships as a sixteen year-old, and featuring on the Nutrigrain cereal box. Lisa recalls how they became Australia’s golden couple, and they had three children before separating.

Saying that no one lives in sunshine all the time, Lisa shares her heart-break after separating from Grant – literally as she had heart surgery. Even more distressing were the ongoing struggles they both had with their eldest daughter’s mental health. “It sucked her into its vortex, stripping her of her confidence and strength, and no matter how we tried to pull her back, she couldn’t break free.”

Living her life in the public eye for four decades, Lisa has used her public profile to support many worthy causes. As well as her sporting career, she has been a successful business woman and written many books. Now she shares her story of resilience.

Lezly Herbert

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