Brian McKeever: 2010 Paralympic Games, Ready to Compete
Brian McKeever Who Missed Being the First Person to Compete in both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games is Now Ready to Shine in his Paralympic Events
It was a day of such disappointment when Brian McKeever was told he would not be the first person in winter sports history to compete in both the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games. He had arrived in Vancouver ready to compete in the Men's 50km Mass Pursuit on February 28th, but there were four spaces on the Canadian team and five athletes available. McKeever was the one who didn't get a spot.
As Brian McKeever suffers from Stargardt's disease, he only has 10 percent of his peripheral vision and describes the center of his vision as like a 'flash bulb'; it is fuzzy and bright but he cannot make out any shapes. So earning a place on the Olympic team was a dream come true and a huge achievement for McKeever; his dream was just never realized.
He was crushed and almost went home before the Olympic Games were over due to his disappointment, but he stayed, and says now he is ready to compete in his Paralympic events.
The 2010 Paralympic Games opens March 12th and McKeever will be taking part in cross-country skiing and biathlon events, five in total, as well as the opening and closing ceremonies. He is already a decorated athlete and he's hoping to add more medals to his trophy case in Vancouver.
Brian and Robin McKeever
Brian competes in the Paralympic events with his brother Robin McKeever as his guide. Robin is himself a decorated athlete, having competed for Canada in the 1998 Olympic Games in Nagano.
Now however, both of them are struggling from something else, sickness. Both Brian and Robin are fighting colds, and Brian is even considering sitting out his first event on Saturday to save his energy for the 20K cross-country event on Monday.
"I think we're going to have to rely on our experience, because we're a little bit sick, and that's a tough challenge," Mr. McKeever said, his voice hoarse, speaking to reporters in Whistler Thursday.
The brothers say they have trained hard for these events and they are ready, despite their recent colds. Most importantly they are looking forward to competing together again.
"It's always the best part of the Paralympics, is the fact that I get to race with Robin," he said, "We have a good time doing this, we train together, we travel together, and this is what's brought us together as brothers."