VISAS member competing at 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games
Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS) is proud and excited that one of their own is competing at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games. Twenty-one-year-old Braydon Luscombe of Duncan is representing Canada at the March 7-16 Games.
Luscombe was the fastest Canadian down the hill on Tuesday in the slalom portion of men's super combined, placing second on a challenging course plagued by thick fog and rain that forced organizers to postpone the men's and women's super combined super-G until Thursday.
Luscombe laid down the second-fastest slalom run in the men's standing category with a time of 52.17 seconds on a course that racers described as "rutty, grippy, and gnarly." Luscombe did not finish his runs in downhill and super-G earlier in the week, so he was pleased with his performance in slalom.
"It feels good to have a strong run," said Luscombe, who foreran at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics. "I was happy to do what we know as a team we can do and what we've done through the whole season. It was a really tough course, but you just had to fight through to the very end. It was rough, but it's rough for everyone else as well.
"We were prepared for it and have skied here in very similar conditions last year. I knew what to expect and just went for it."
Following schedule changes, women's slalom is set for Wednesday, and men's slalom on Thursday. The women's super-G from the super combined is scheduled for Friday, followed by men's and women's giant slalom on Saturday and Sunday.
Competing on the Canadian Paralympic alpine team as an above knee amputee in the standing category, Luscombe tuned up for the Paralympics in Austria. “It’s just mind boggling, we are unbelievably proud,” said Luscombe’s mother, Charmaine.
A former prospect athlete who moved up to the Canadian national team in 2011, Luscombe has recorded eight top-10 finishes on IPC Alpine World Cup circuit since his first World Cup season in 2012. He became the men’s Canadian giant slalom champion in 2013.
Luscombe was introduced to alpine skiing at Mount Washington Alpine Resort through VISAS Learn to Ski program when he was six years old, nine months after losing his right leg to necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease). Later on he skied with VISAS’s racing team until he joined the provincial team.
The Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society (VIMSS) also supported Luscombe with his alpine race training through its Athletic Grant program, providing funds to assist in travel expenses to off island competitions.
Over the years VISAS has introduced thousands to the thrill of participating in snowsports at Mount Washington. Many who have embraced alpine and Nordic skiing, and snowboarding continue to share their experiences with family and friends – VISAS’s ultimate goal.
“It’s also been very satisfying for our race team coaches and instructors,” said VISAS president Brian Culley, “to witness the competitive spirit come alive in those who’ve challenged themselves to new heights. Once in awhile we are privileged to see firsthand this passion, drive, and dedication taken to the ultimate - in the realization of a Paralympic dream.”
VISAS instructors, past and present, wish Luscombe the best of success in Sochi, and to all of Canada’s Paralympic athletes.
– Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports
with a file from the Canadian Paralympic Committee