If not for the Paralympics, Canada may never have heard of Brian McKeever.

The Paralympian, who won gold yesterday, said he became a stronger skier since losing his central vision at age 18 and being offered top-level coaching as a visually impaired athlete trying to make Canada’s Para-Nordic team.

“It was after years of working and developing with the Paralympic team that I got the speed where I am now, able to compete at the highest level of able bodied as well,” said McKeever.

He received funding, support and coaching as part of his Paralympic journey. While his story is unique, his praise for the Paralympics is not.

Marc Dorion, who plays for Canada’s sledge hockey team, suffers from partial paralysis due to spinal bifida, a disease he was born with.

His doctors told him about the sport at the age of four, and he credits sledge hockey for giving himself and others a chance to go further than he thought possible with sport.

“It’s given me lots of experiences, to travel, meet new people and compete at a level I never thought I could obtain when I was younger,” said Dorion.

“The opportunities really are there, if you know where to go and who to talk to, the sky is the limit.”

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