Commonwealth Games Blogs

At home in front of thousands of people

I remember watching the Commonwealth Games on CBC as a kid. It was the event that satisfied our hunger for Olympic sports as we awaited the next Summer Games.

So I still don't know if it has completely sunk in yet: after competing in my first Paralympic Games in Beijing, I'm about to be part of Team Canada again at my first Commonwealth Games in Delhi, where I'm entered in the men's 1500-metre wheelchair race.

I think I imagined competing in these big events so many times that, when I'm actually there, it doesn't feel as strange as it should. Instead, I just feel a rush of adrenaline and a drive to succeed. I'm right at home in a stadium filled with thousands of people.

Twenty-four hours before my first race in Beijing, I was shaking with anticipation. Believe it or not, I didn't feel calm until I entered the roaring stadium of 90,000 spectators. What a shock that was. I couldn't believe how comfortable I felt in that environment.

I wanted to finish on the podium, and I envisioned myself winning medals, but I just wasn't quite there yet. That realization dawned on me after the first few days of competition, but I continued to give everything I had.

Since Beijing, I've beaten all the gold medallists from those Games, and some world- record holders too. There's no one in the sport that I haven't beaten at least two or three times now. This is a good accomplishment, but of course it shouldn't end there.

In all the different distances I race - from 800-metre track events all the way up to 42-kilometre marathons - the top finishers can be separated by the slimmest margins. Every
athlete has to do everything possible to gain an edge, and I've been doing everything in my power since Beijing to climb my way up the ranks and finish in the top three more consistently.

I've been training hard to make the Delhi Games successful, and I'm aiming for nothing less than the top. I'll be extremely disappointed with anything less than a podium finish.

Over the next few weeks, I look forward to telling you more about my preparation (I just finished a very hard week of training with my coach, Amanda Fader), my sport (right now I'm off to England for the unique Tunnel 2k International race) my interests (I created promotional art for the Tunnel even) and everything else leading up to the Commonwealth Games.