May 29, 2020
This story of the Australian Olympian, Steven Bradbury is a story of persistence and resilience. In 2002 he was about to enter his FOURTH Winter Olympics – an amazing feat in and of itself. But this is not the only amazing facet of Steven’s life!
In the decade leading up to the 2002 competition, Steven had suffered some horrific injuries. In 1994 after a collision with another skater, he lost four litres of blood and nearly died, after receiving a terrible laceration to his leg caused by the competitor’s skate. Six years later, he fractured two vertebrae in his neck and needed to spend several months immobilized in a halo brace. With metal pins inserted into his neck and skull the doctors told Steven that he would no longer be able to skate.
When he wasn’t training, Steven ran a small skate-making business here in New South Wales. In spite of dwindling finances, his advancing years, his prior lack of medals and the terrible injuries he had faced whilst on the ice, Steven was desperate for a final chance at success and his courage and tenacity paid off when he reached the 2002 Olympic Games.
When the Games commenced, he was the oldest competitor in his event. People didn’t think he stood a chance, including many on his team! He had managed to scrape through the heats and producing one of his best performances, finished second in the semi-final. Realising he didn’t have the raw speed of the younger racers he employed a tactic of just ‘hanging in there’. With 50m to go to the finish line, Steven found himself 15m behind the pack and the race was seemingly lost. However in the final moments, the three racers competing for first place collided and fell in a heap on the ice! With the distance between them Steven was able to navigate around the stricken skaters to take first place and win the gold medal – the first skater from the Southern Hemisphere to ever do so.
After the race, he said to one of the enthusiastic reporters, “Obviously I wasn’t the fastest skater. I don’t think I’ll take the medal as the minute-and-a-half of the race I actually won. I’ll take it as the last decade of the hard slog I put in”.
Challenges and setbacks are a normal part of life. Sometimes we might be unable to control the things that keep us from achieving our goals. But I hope in the story of this extraordinary Australian you will take encouragement and be reminded that, in life, persistence and determination can make all the difference.
TIGS Tuition Hub restarted this week, offering students the chance to apply these lessons of persistence and determination to their studies. The Hub provides a one-stop-shop for expert tuition and personalised support in whatever areas of the curriculum students may be focusing on. The Tuition Hub offers a quiet space to complete homework, 1:1 tuition or small group support. Students do not need to register – they simply need to come along to the Library after school on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.
The specific program for this term is as below. You can access more information on the Tuition Hub page on OLLE