November 13, 2017 2:37 pm
Updated: November 13, 2017 8:35 pm

Paralympian aims for gold at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games

At a young age Greg Westlake had both his feet amputated but that didn’t stop him from learning how to skate at the age of three. Today, Greg is the captain of Canada’s national sledge hockey team and the spokesperson for Jumpstart’s Play Finds A Way project. Susan Hay has the story.

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Greg Westlake learned to skate at the tender age of three and never looked back.

“I had both my feet amputated at a very young age and was very fortunate that I was the youngest of four kids and grew up just wanting to chase them around,” Westlake said. “So for me, when you’re a little kid you don’t know anything different, you just wanna play.”

Today he’s the captain of Canada’s national sledge hockey team and aside from the accolades he’s earned over the years, capturing the gold in Italy is something he will never forget.

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“When I was 18 years old, I won my first paralympic gold medal in Torino in 2006,” Westlake said. “And that was a big one for me just because I was 18 and again, just like the day I was named to the team, it was just a proud moment for me to share with my family.”

To his family and friends, Greg is a true inspiration, but to children of all abilities, he’s become a role model and now a spokesperson for Jumpstart’s Play Finds A Way Project – making sport and play accessible to all Canadian kids.

“It’s kids with disabilities playing with able-bodied kids,” Westlake said. “ It’s everyone together – which is the way it should be and I just think it’s an incredible program.

“I know the profound impact that sports has had on my life.”

Westlake recalls doing martial arts and playing at recess to keep up with everybody when he was a child — breaking down the physical barriers and just wanting to be a kid.

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“Kids were accepting. Kids loved that I was trying, that I was out there.”

As for what the future may hold for Westlake?

“Right now I’m laser focused on a gold medal in PyeongChang 2018 and do whatever it takes to help me and the team get there.”

 

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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