The (un)fortunate skater: Steven Bradbury
Historically Australia is a country that performs very well in the Summer Olympics, always earning many medals; but if we talk about the winter Olympics, things are diametrically different.
But Australia, despite never having had great champions in winter disciplines, will always be remembered for being the birthplace of Steven Bradbury, the most incredible winter Olympic gold medal ever.
All sports fans have at least once seen the videos of his victory; his story went around the world snatching a smile from anyone who looked at the images.
The life of Steven Bradbury for most is summed up in that lucky victory, but that unexpected victory was probably the reward of karma for never giving up in the face of difficulty and always standing up with a smile.
So who was Steve Bradbury?
He was an excellent ice skater who defended the Australian colours in 4 World Championships and 4 Olympics.
In 1991 at the age of 17, thanks to his hard work, he became world champion at the Sydney championships in the 5,000 m relay.
This victory foreshadowed a very bright future, but the first disappointments soon arrived. The following year, there was his first Olympic participation (Albertville’ 92). He, with his teammates, was the reigning world champions, so obviously they were the favourites in the predictions. A disastrous fall in seminal, however, prevents him and his teammates from reaching the final. The Olympic expedition of Australian skaters was therefore a failure.
In the following world championships (Beijing ’93 and Guildford’ 94), he managed to win a bronze and a silver medal, always with the 5000m relay team; but the forbidden dream was the Olympics.
At Lillehammer ’94, being in the team, Bradbury and others brought Australia its first medal in the Winter Olympics history, a bronze medal.
At 50 meters from the finish line, the unbelievable happened: one after the other his opponents fell to the ground and he crossed the line in disbelief as the winner! Bradbury won Olympic gold! Bradbury won Australia’s first-ever gold medal at the Winter Olympics, a historic achievement that becomes even more legendary in the way it was achieved.
The most unfortunate skater in history had finally been rewarded for his efforts, and now many remember him as the most fortunate skater in history.
After his winning at track, in his interview, Bradbury said:
“I knew I was not the fastest skater out on the tracks. It took me several moments to realize that I’d won. But I’d rather say I’ll take it as a reward for my hard work for the past ten years.” Speaking about his strategy, he also said that he considered it was good for nothing to step up and fight for four racers with people faster than you. He figured out that it was better to stay away and come last. But his devotion to his sport decided not to fail him in his last most important tournament.
After his success, he was praised and loved by all of his fellow countrymen. The media supported him and made captions for him like the value of the underdog never giving up regardless of the odd actions.
Success will never come by itself; you have to achieve it with your hard work. Sometimes it requires sacrifices, and other times it gives pain, as in the case of Steven Bradbury. But self-confidence can make you do anything. Bradbury turned the garden behind his house into a skating rink so he could practice. He decided not to stop even though he was told he could no longer skate or when he thought he would die. He had only passion, devotion and dedication to skating and in the end it paid off unforgettably.