At the conclusion of the Slalom races there was no time to rest I was ushered off into a private car to be chauffeured back to the athletes village. An hour to shower, get ready, eat some food and complete some media interviews and it was back into the car off to Whistler Village and the Medals Plaza.
Entering through the back entrance we were dropped off and taken into the Green Room. Here is where all the medallists wait before being taken onto the stage for their medal presentation.
Inside there was obviously a great atmosphere everyone was excited to get onstage and receive their medals! Our presentation was the 4th of 6 so we waited and watched on the large flat screens as our fellow athletes were presented. The adrenalin was still going I was so excited to get onto the stage.
Finally it was our turn! We were taken to the back of the stage where we were given our instructions for our entrance, where to stand on the podium and what to do when the ceremony had finished.
We watched as they presented the 3 medal winners and a snippet of our winning runs on the big screen, the excitement in all of us was incredible as we were called onto the stage. We followed the Rocky Mountain Police as we paraded around the stage and behind the podium waving and showcasing the biggest smiles of our lives.
Standing behind the podium the emotion of my accomplishment came to real life. This was the moment I have been waiting for my entire life and I took a deep breath because I could feel the tears wanting to burst out in happiness. And then the moment came, Eric and I were announced to the crowd and we took to the podium, hands n the air soaking it all in. By chance Greg Hartung the president of the Austrlaian Paralympic Committee happened to be presenting us with our medals. He was beaming just as much as Eric and I when he placed the medals over our heads and congratulated us on our massive achievement.
After the medals had been awarded it was time for the flag raising, such a proud moment to see the Australian flag raised for the first time at these Paralympics. It is such an honour to represent your country and to see the flag raised because of your efforts is very humbling, a precious moment I will cherish for the rest of my life.
The ceremony concluded with photographic opportunities, the 6 of us (3 athletes and 3 guides) stood together hugging and smiling sharing this moment together. The crowd was amazing it had been raining throughout the entire ceremony and yet there were hundreds of people in the crowd to make this moment special- the atmosphere was incredible.
After such an amazing day full of adrenalin and excitement it had not yet concluded Eric and I went into the crowd to see our family and friends as we celebrated and showed off our medals we were also bombarded by little children, teenage boys, parents and grandparents for photos. It was great to be able to enjoy this moment with so many people even if we didn’t know any of them.
As we drove back to the athletes village and entered the Australian headquarters there were hugs and congratulations from everywhere, commenting on the medal before we moved into one of our meeting rooms where awaiting was a huge birthday cake!
After all the excitement I had completely forgotten I was now another year older and as the sparklers were lit and everyone was singing Happy Birthday the fire alarms went off but this did not deter anyone it was obvious the team mood was high with excitement with getting our first medal and the awaiting chocolate cake!!!
The perfect end to a perfect day and officially the best day of my life!