New inspiration…David Smith
This is the time of year when I normally have had a sneaky early ski at the BASI Trainers conference, however this year it was held off-snow and in Scotland near Aviemore the spiritual home of British skiing.
Among lots of valuable talk, listening, seminars, discussion and the odd beer, one part of it will leave an ever-lasting impression on me. The powers that be at BASI sometimes get outside people to come in and either present ideas on aspects of teaching or expert opinion in various subjects, Steve Redgrave’s talk on his amazing Olympic life for an example from a previous one comes to mind.
This year a guy with the very ordinary name of David Smith came along and told us his life story. He turned out to be anything but ordinary, I cannot tell everything here because it is way too complex and long but here’s a précis:
• Born with his feet on the wrong way round
• Many operations to correct this in his early years
• Many goes at many different sports to become a “normal/able bodied athlete”
• Someone mentions there’s such a thing as Paralympics
• Failure to perform because of reasons undiscovered in bob sleigh, martial arts, 400 m running and then in rowing
• Being called “virus” by team mates
• Taken into hospital for tests a few months before a trial
• Being “elated” at being told the reason for his “failure”…. a tumour in his spinal chord
• Being paralysed from the neck down after operation
• A blood clot delaying recovery upon release, requiring another OP
• Training “in his mind” while paralysed
• Working his way back little by little but harder work than I’ve ever done
• Making it to the London Olympics rowing final 2012
• Almost missing the start due to a mess up within the boat on the water
• Driving himself to breaking point during the race
• Winning the race even though Germany were the favourites after beating the world record by 6 seconds in the previous round and having a terrible start farce
All this over his lifetime, I’m sure there must be further info on the internet re timescale for interested parties out there and a book that I will certainly buy. After he finished speaking he said that although his medal was his pride and joy, his bit of advice for us in the room was – “the whole journey not the result is the thing to be prized, as it makes you, you”. He then told us that if we wanted to see and touch said medal we were more than welcome, well, not being backwards in coming forwards….. see picture.