By Yolanda Ridge, Rossland News
Ian Lockey’s journey has taken him from New Zealand to Rossland to Russia; from a broken back to the biggest sports competition in the world.
And Rosslanders get to claim Lockey as their own as he heads to Sochi to represent Canada in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
As part of the first ever snowboard event at the Paralymic level, Lockey will compete in a time trial version of the Snowboard Cross. In this event, each rider performs two or three timed runs – with only one rider on the course at a time – tackling modified terrain features including banked turns, rollers, tabletop jumps and Wu-tangs.
In other words, Lockey will be riding a difficult course, competing with the best athletes in the world, on a snowboard adapted for lower limb impairment.
At the age of 25, Lockey crashed while dropping a cornice on his snowboard in New Zealand. The accident crushed three of his vertebrae, resulting in a severed spinal cord and a minor head injury. As a standing paraplegic, Lockey has only 50 per cent use of his muscles from the waist down.
“I have no calf muscle in either leg,” explained Lockey. “No hamstring, gluteus maximus or peraforma muscle on my left side (and majorly reduced function of the same muscles on my right side) as well as missing some posterior abdominals and some internal organ function.”
“I can’t walk on my toes,” said Lockey. “When I bike I stand on my pedals on my heels. Yes, I look funny.”
In snowboarding, he uses a third binding strap that runs from his shin to his highback so he can use his upper body strength to lean forward on his board.
Judging by the photos, there’s nothing funny about the set up – just successful. In his eight years on the Canadian National Adaptive Snowboard Team, Lockey has traveled to World Cup events in Whistler (host of the first ever Para-Snowboard World Cup in 2008), USA, Slovenia, and Spain.
He’s collected a trophy case full of medals, including North American Alpine & Freestyle Adaptive Champion in 2007 & 2010.
In May 2012, after years of effort on the part of Canada Snowboard and the rest of the snowboarding community, Snowboard Cross was officially added to the 2014 Paralympic Games. One year later, Lockey was nominated to the 2014 National Para- Snowboard team, fulfilling a dream that’s forced him to amp up his game plan.
“I’ve been training really hard at Get Focus personal training in Trail,” said Lockey, “working hard on max strength of my core, quads… and concentrating on getting my hips forward.”
Lockey is appreciative of all the support he’s received from Get Focus. He also gives credit to the rest of his home team, including Scenar Health Rossland, Rossvegas (“the best snowboard shop ever”), and his wife, Natasha – “my biggest motivator and helper.”
In addition to physical and mental preparation for the games, Lockey’s been working hard to fund this season. “All my trip to World Cups are self paid with the Olympics being the only funded event,” he said.
The cost for snowboard equipment, in addition to contest and travel expenses, well exceeds $10,000. “I have been lucky enough to have my friends donate about $3000 through the website; www.gofundme.com/helpIan.”
To find out more, visit www.IanLockey.com and get ready to cheer on Rossland’s own as he and his teammates make history this March at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. Lockey, who loves the freedom of snowboarding and has fun playing with gravity, has already given us lots to celebrate – even before leaving home.