Nate Riech came into his first Paralympics under a burden of heavy expectation.
Not just because his family tree is overstuffed with elite and pro athletes.
Riech owns the world record in the T38 1500m. He set it, and then lowered it, in the months leading up to Tokyo. So he was confident and ready to race when the gold medal day dawned. But that’s where the going got interesting.
As an athlete enduring a traumatic brain injury, Nate has learned to roll with a variety of symptoms. But even he was a bit freaked out to discover his right leg was suddenly not working properly during race day warm up. Incredibly, he and his coach had a backup plan for just such an event: he ran a series of short sprints designed to reboot his unpredictable nervous system.
It worked. He’s sporting the gold now. And hungrier than ever to keep tearing up the record books, keep showing the world what people with TBIs can do, and keep inspiring anybody, who like himself, woke up one fateful day,young and motionless in a hospital bed.
The term can get overused, but Nate Riech is an inspiration, and a fascinating young runner to get to know on this week’s Player’s Own Voice.
For our hard of hearing and deaf audience members, we are pleased to provide a transcription.
Like the CBC Sports’ Player’s Own Voice essay series, the POV podcast allows athletes to speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.
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