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Insider Insights: Articles

Rempel overcomes adversity to compete in 2014 Paralympics

By Deb Matejicka
Calgary bureau reporter
Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 5:27 PM

In my lifetime, I have been to two Olympic Games. Not to compete -- nacho eating still isn’t an official sport -- but to work in a broadcasting capacity.

I was fortunate enough to have been at the 2010 Games in Vancouver and then again the 2012 London Games. Both experiences were almost surreal and one of those things you don’t realize just how amazing the experience is until you’ve had time to sit back and reflect on it.

In my opinion, and based on my two experiences, the Games are something so completely in a league of its own. Not just because of the calibre of sport represented, but because of how the Games affect people – sporting and non-sporting fans alike.

RELATED: Winter Games fill Canadians with pride

The way the Games can bring a nation together, the way they can elicit emotion, is just so. 

The tears that well up when one of your athletes wins a medal, or the athlete who struggled to compete finally realizes the dream of just being there. They motivate and inspire people to be the best they can be, athletically or otherwise.

To borrow a line from the website of Paralympian Kevin Rempel, "his sheer will and determination is a testament that behind all those dark clouds lies a rainbow, and if you can weather the storm, brighter days are still ahead."

As a one-time sports-turned-weather reporter, I couldn’t have said it any better.

The following story is about the 31-year-old Rempel, a Paralympic athlete who never had any interest in the Olympics, beyond watching it on television every couple of years, until a series of tragic events would change his life and his dreams.

Rempel loved riding his dirt bike and it was his dream to go pro one day and ride and jump in front of an audience. He would get that chance, but not before tragedy would strike his family.


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