Janine Shepherd’s journey is a testament to resilience. As an Australian cross-country skier poised for Olympic glory, her dreams were shattered by a life-threatening accident when a truck hit her during training. Against all odds, she survived, transitioning from athlete to celebrated author and aerobatics pilot. Her incredible comeback captured national attention, inspiring many through her story and a popular telemovie. Shepherd embodies the triumph of the human spirit over adversity.


Janine Shepherd, AM, embodies resilience and transformation. A former Australian cross-country skier on track for Olympic success, her aspirations were abruptly halted by a devastating accident with a truck during a training ride. Despite sustaining life-threatening injuries, Janine’s spirit remained unbroken. Her remarkable recovery and pivot to becoming an accomplished aerobatics pilot and a celebrated author have inspired millions worldwide.

Janine’s journey from near-tragic loss to triumphant rebirth has captured international attention and continues to motivate individuals worldwide, proving the indomitable strength of the human will.

Over the ensuing years, Janine embarked on a journey of recovery. Despite her status as a partial paraplegic, she defied expectations by learning to walk again and becoming a mother to three children. Within a year following her accident, Janine achieved her pilot’s license, progressed to earn a commercial pilot’s license, and furthered her expertise to become a certified aerobatics instructor. Her ground-breaking achievements include being appointed the first female director of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Janine has authored six books. Her first, “Never Tell Me Never,” was adapted into a successful telemovie. Her latest memoir, DEFIANT, is currently being adapted for screen. 

Janine is an ambassador for Spinal Cure Australia and was honoured as a Member of the Order of Australia in 2001 for her contributions to the community, her inspirational life, and her efforts to enhance awareness of spinal cord research.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Movement/Education and is currently undertaking a PhD focusing her research on resilience, disability, and positive psychology.

In the midst of heartache and depression, through loss and grief, I found more love, passion and resilience than I’d ever known before.

janine shepherd


Janine has more than just a great story. Through her years of struggle, she fought to learn as much as possible about the human mind, body, and spirit through education, courses, and taking to the skies.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Movement Studies
  • Graduate Degree in Education
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) Advanced training certification
  • Diploma of Counseling (AIPC)
  • Positive Psychology and Well-Being Coaching Certification (College of Executive Coaching)
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Training (MBSR)
  • Private Pilots Licence
  • Commercial Pilots Licence
  • Instructor Rating
  • Aerobatic Rating
  • Aerobatic Instructor Rating
  • Instrument Rating
  • Multi-Engine Rating
  • Seaplane Rating
  • Never Tell Me Never Pan MacMillan
  • Dare To Fly Random House
  • On My Own Two Feet Random House
  • Reaching For Stars Random House
  • The Gift Of Acceptance Allen and Unwin
  • Defiant Sounds True
  • Order of Australia (AM)
  • Certified Speaking Professional (CSP)
  • Outstanding Young Person of the World- Junior Chamber International (TOYP)
  • TEDx talk: “A Broken Body isn’t A Broken Person”- Talk of the day on TED.com. My talk appears in the book, ‘Talk Like TED.’


TEDx talk: “A Broken Body isn’t A Broken Person”