Wow! What a day in Sochi! This morning the majority of the group went down to the Coastal Village to watch, first up, Wheelchair Curling and then Sledge Hockey, which we’d pre-booked tickets for. For many, Wheelchair Curling isn’t something they’ve ever watched before so it was also a good opportunity to learn about a new sport.
And what an introductory game to watch! Great Britain were up against Sweden, who are currently ranked 2nd in the world for what was tipped to be one of our toughest matches of the Games. The match was tense and the winners of the game were not decided until the last stone, when Great Britain took the win, which was an amazing result for ParalympicsGB and the Curling Team. The Inspiration group were honored to be invited for lunch with the ParalymicsGB curling team before they went back out to play South Korea this afternoon, which was a game they also won! Before they left the Coastal Village for the day, the team bumped into none other than the IPC President, Sir Phillip Craven, a great moment for our Athletes.
Meanwhile, up in the mountains, Martin (our Head of Sports Recovery) & I were nervously waiting for Mick Brennan to start his first race of the Paralympic Games, the men’s Super-G Sitting Classification. The course was tough, many in the first classes were coming off the track and missing gates, including the guides of the Visually Impaired (VI) classification! After a fairly long delay, due to the number of crashes on the course, it was finally Mick’s classification. With a 50/50 split between those finishing and those crashing out made it a very tense wait for Martin & I. Finally, we saw him appear on the big screen and he was up! The nerves really kicked in then and as he pushed off I could feel myself shaking and was repeating under my breath, ‘nice and steady Mick, stay steady’, willing him with all my might to finish the course and, most importantly, safely.
And he did! He was fantastic and by the time he appeared over the brow of the hill I couldn’t stop myself from screaming and shouting his name. A few seconds later, he was through the finish gates. What an incredibly emotional moment. I am glad I was wearing sunglasses because the tears in my eyes would have been evident to anyone looking at me. Seeing someone the Charity has supported along his particularly tough journey through recovery, and someone I personally know, represent his country once more was an incredibly moving experience.
On that note, I would just like to say a huge thank you to each and every one of you who supports Help for Heroes. You really do make an incredible difference to the lives of some very special people. I am incredibly proud to work for this amazing charity and continually humbled by everything our supporters do.