Canadian Brian McKeever will be named to Canada’s Olympic cross-country ski team making him the first athlete ever to compete at both the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
McKeever has Stargardt’s disease and is legally blind. He has won seven Paralympic medals including two gold and a bronze at the Turin 2006 Paralympic Games. His first able-bodied competition was a 15 km race at the FIS (Fédération Internationale de Ski) world championships in Sapporo, Japan in 2007 where he placed 21st. He qualified for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games by winning the able-bodied 50 km Haywood NorAm race last month in Canmore, Alberta.
Considered by some to be a pun combining ‘paraplegic’ and Olympic, the word ‘Paralympic’ is actually derived from the Greek preposition ‘para’ which means ‘alongside’ and Olympics – the effect of which is that the Paralympics are the parallel Games to the Olympics.
There have been five athletes who have competed at both the Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.
There can be no greater champion to symbolize the Paralympic values of determination (to overcome obstacles and to conquer adversity) and courage (to accomplish the unexpected and what is believed to be impossible) than Brian McKeever.