CALGARY — Brian McKeever never hesitates. He won't; he can't. He races against the best cross-country skiers on the planet in a permanent blur, with eyes that are 90 per cent blind and without a guide to warn him should someone fall in his path.
It is an arduous undertaking, as much an act of trust as a physical challenge, yet Mr. McKeever never falters. He wants to be the world's first Paralympics athlete to compete at a Winter Olympics, and his goal is 2010 and Vancouver/Whistler.
“Any Paralympian trying to make an Olympic Games is not looking for a sympathy vote,” Mr. McKeever said. “I don't want a spot on the Canadian team because it's a good story.”
Meet the man who rarely says “I can't” because he's too busy doing the things he can. He can compete on the World Cup Nordic circuit. He can ride his bike to the grocery store to shop. He can see just enough at the corner of his eyes to make out forms and bodies, and that's helped him realize just how fortunate he is, especially when it comes to skiing.
“There's a blind spot in the middle [of his eyes],” explained the 29-year-old resident of Canmore, Alta. “My peripheral vision is okay for spatial relations. It's a good blindness, in a way, for a sport like cross-country skiing. For a sport like darts or bowling, where you're aiming at a target, it's not so good.”
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Genetic hurdles don't break skier's stride
Source: The Globe and Mail