Have you ever caught yourself pondering what it would be like to be the best in the world at something?
To be part of something so big that you could only dream about. Making my way through primary school there was more time spent dreaming about donning the green and gold before tearing onto the Rugby League field or sprinting down the athletics track with the world’s best by my side, then doing actual school work. There is no hiding the fact that I was more athletic than academic in life, the best part of school was recess and lunch, where I could kick around with my friends and burn some energy. This dream of being the world’s best was always with me, it didn’t matter what I was doing I was always so competitive.
In a flash these dreams seemed to be shattered, when I lost the lower half of leg in an accident on our farm. The visions of representing Australia seemed to be destroyed in the blink of an eye. When faced with this situation you have to make a choice, hide from the world or take it as a challenge and attack it head on. It didn’t take long to decide that this was only going to be a diversion in the dream. I was keen to push past this inconvenience and ensure that my life would go on. Playing for the Kangaroos was out of the question but there had to be other options to fulfil my dream!
Fast forward a decade, what I thought was only a dream when I was a kid is about to become a reality in 77 short days at the London 2012 Paralympics Although the Paralympics was not exactly what I envisioned as a primary school student, I am about to realize my dream of pulling on the green and gold for as a part of the Australian track and field team. If someone had of asked me what the Paralympics were in 2002, the answer would have been brief, as it was something that I really knew nothing about.
I am beginning to understand what it takes to become a Paralympic athlete and I am witnessing the rapid progression of the Paralympic sport. The Olympics undoubtedly the pinnacle of sport, but what has made it the magnificent event it is today? Since 1896 athletes have been pushing the bar higher to a level where they had no choice but to become professional to keep up with the competition. The Paralympics are 64 years younger than their counterpart, however, I believe that they have progressed faster than its older brother. Over the past twelve years the Paralympics have accelerated at an unbelievable rate, all you have to do it look through the record books, take the men’s sprint events of 100m, 200m, and 400m with 57 world record that can be broken, 93% of these records are under twelve years old! The level of professional athletes in Paralympic sports is at its highest level in history. This means that the London 2012 Paralympics will be the best Paralympics in history.
When you see an athlete on the podium in London, they are there for one reason, they deserve to be there! All athletes know that If you have not done the work, you might as well not board the plane, because if you’re off by only 1%, I guarantee that there will be athletes ready to take the opportunity to take that position on the podium.
This excites and drives me, I am aware that there are athletes that have run faster and have more experience, but it is time for a change. New champions will be crowned, old champions will be defeated. But in this whole process there is only one thing that I can control and that is doing everything possible to ensure that I not only fulfil my childhood dream, but exceed it, by pushing the boundaries and giving it my all. I can’t wait.