This post may be a bit late as the less familiar Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games had their closing ceremony almost two weeks ago, but I believe it’s not too late to be inspired by these amazing athletes who did not let anything keep them from doing their best.
It is only the 11th Paralympic Winter Games held for athletes with disabilities under the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The Games featured 72 medal events in five known sports from the Olympics, and is the first Paralympic that held a snowboarding event. Amidst the stark international tension regarding the country’s intervention in Crimea, Ukraine the Paralympic Games went on. Canada stayed in top 3 with a total of 16 medals having 7 of them Gold. The host country had 30 Gold medals from 80 medals in total which kept them in first place. Forty-five National Paralympic Committees joined in Sochi 2014 Paralympic winter games with Brazil, Turkey, and Uzbekistan joining for the first time.
Here are some notable quotes from the athletes who overcame obstacles to reach their goals:
“It’s all about my own shape and knowing [that] if I’m going to be half decent or a bag of wet towels: You don’t know that until you start racing and pushing.”
Brian McKeever, Canada’s cross-country skier and biathlete who began skiing at the age of thirteen. He lost his vision at the age of 19 due to Stargardt’s disease. He won gold in men’s 20km visually impaired cross-country skiing race in Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.
“If we all looked the same, it would be a boring world.“
Oksana Masters is a Ukranian-born Paralympic rower and cross-country skier from the U.S. Nordic Skiing Team. She was born with several radiation-induced birth defects including different leg length, missing shin bones, webbed fingers with no thumb, and six toes on each foot. She was sadly abandoned by her birth parents at a Ukrainian orphanage until 7 years old. Then she was adopted by Gay Masters, a professor who had no children of her own.
“Obviously at the end of the day, it’s not what we came here for, but for the rest of my life, I’m never going to remember [Vancouver Olympics]. I’m going to remember that big hunking medal that we’re going to get on our necks in a couple of hours and what it means to bring a medal home for Canada.“
Billy Bridges is a Canadian ice sledge hockey player who has spina bifida, a congenital disorder that causes the spinal cord to remain unfused and open, sometimes protruding through the bones. He and the Canadian team won the ice sledge hockey bronze medal in the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games.
You can read other quotes from the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games here.