Several Paralympians were welcomed home at YVR yesterday off AC855 from London to a chorus of cowbells and Canadian flags. I was there to greet Braydon Luscombe, YVR-sponsored skier and Vancouver Island native who competed in his first Winter Games in Sochi. Braydon had some tough results in Russia, falling in competition a few times, once when he had held second place after the first run and had a serious chance of medalling.
I thought he would be crestfallen. I was wrong.
Braydon, trademark grin on his face, said he had tried his best, gone hard at the mountain, and was happy to have had the chance to compete. He gave credit to his teammates and pointed out that the Canadian team had surpassed expectations. Yes, of course he was disappointed not to have personally achieved more, but that he had fun and gave it his best shot.
This is the type of athlete kids should be looking up to. Braydon embodies the competitive spirit and possesses just the kind of positive attitude that should make him a real role model for anybody aspiring to achieve great things. Here is an individual who encountered major adversity, losing his leg at age five, overcame that giant obstacle and has just returned from representing his country on the world stage. The reality is the Paralympics will never get the same attention as the Olympics, but kudos to companies like Air Canada for their continuous support of Paralymic athletes and to everybody at the airport yesterday who waved the red and white, rang that cowbell and showed their appreciation for the athletes.
Congratulations and thank you to all the Paralympians out there who made Canada so proud in Sochi! And thank you to Braydon for reminding me that the best athletes might not get the mega-bucks endorsements, but have million-dollar attitudes.