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GREAT NEWS from the Olympic Spirit Project!

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By now my Kickstarter project backers should have received their Olympic Spirit Project – Sochi 2014 rewards – postcards, prints, books, eBooks. If you have not received yours and you haven’t heard from me to let you know it’s on its way, it’s most likely because I’m still waiting on your mailing address. If this is the case, please shoot me a message with your mailing address and I will send it off to you.

The Olympic Spirit Project Book – Print, ePub & PDF!

Last week I announced that the Olympic Spirit Project – Sochi 2014 eBook was ready for download, YAY!! At the time, the eBook was only available in ePub format, so today I’m happy to announce that I’ve released a PDF version for those who do not have access to an ePub reader.

 

Olympic Spirit Project Book - ePub Olympic Spirit Project Book - PDF Olympic Spirit Project Book - Print

  Buy now as ePub        Buy now as PDF        Buy now in Print

Early Reviews For The Olympic Spirit Project Book:

“For someone who really wanted to be there but couldn’t, this book is the next best thing! It’s obvious once you look at it, how much love went into producing this book. The pictures tell a great story about the spirit of the Sochi Olympic Games. Thank you Mariska for taking all those awesome pics and sharing your passion.”     ~ Reese Richards

“This book really captures the spirit of the Olympics games and the inspirational message they carry. Plus, it has beautiful photos! A perfect gift or coffee table book for any athlete or Olympics fan.”   ~ Toffler N.

“The Olympic Spirit Project is a wonderful book that gives you an inside look at what it was really like to attend the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. If you are an Olympics fan, this book is for you!” ~ Hilary Curry

[Tweet “This #book is the perfect #gift for any #athlete or #Olympics fan on your list! “]

A sneak peek inside The Olympic Spirit Project Book…

Epic Canadian fans at the Men’s Gold Medal Hockey Game:

If you were glued to the television watching as Canada competed in Sochi, this book is an up close and personal encounter of being on the sidelines cheering with your fellow Canadians!

 

Olympic Spirit Project - Sample Page

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Cauldron and Olympic venues:

If you were at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, this is the perfect souvenir to keep those memories and Olympic Spirit fresh!

Olympic Spirit Project Book Sample

Get your Christmas shopping done early!

This book is the perfect gift for any athlete or Olympics fan on your list!

 

  Buy now as ePub        Buy now as PDF         Buy now in Print

 

Olympic Spirit Project Book is HERE!!

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A year ago today I made a life choice to leave the shackles of the corporate office world behind and to pursue my dreams a digital nomad.

The year that I’ve had has been incredible!

  • I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising nearly $7500 for the Olympic Spirit Project Book
  • I traveled to Russia for 12 unforgettable days at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games
  • blogged about the whole experience – sharing the good, the bad and the photos from the Olympic Spirit Project
  • I built an online store and am selling postcards and enlarged prints and the Olympic Spirit Project Book
  • I learned all about creating and self-publishing a photo book!!!

And now I’m excited to announce that…

The 2014 Olympic Spirit Project Book is available in print and eBook format!

OSP Book Cover

Book Preview

About the Olympic Spirit Project Book

This 40-page book of photography from the ‘Olympic Spirit Project’ is created through a love of sport and the examination of human emotion. Mariska Richters creates a dramatic collection of work that captures the diverse expression of national pride and Olympic spirit from around the world.

Mariska’s work tells a powerful story through captured moments in time where lives are changed and memories of a lifetime are made. In this collection, Mariska gives us an intimate glimpse into Olympic Spirit that makes the Olympic experience so memorable.

About the Olympic Spirit Project eBook

The eBook is available through both Blurb and iBooks.  The eBook book is rich with links leading you to more detailed articles Sochi Olympic experience.

eBook Preview

About the Photographer

Mariska Richters is a freelance photographer whose collection of works can be found at mariskarichters.com and across various online social networks. Raised in the Cowichan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, Mariska’s passion for capturing the human experience through images and words was born from her experience at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. She has attended three Olympics to date, and aspires to continue the Olympic Spirit Project in future. Proceeds from the Olympic Spirit Project will be put toward continuing this project in 2016 and beyond.

Postcard: The Sochi 2014 Olympic CauldronGratitude!

I’d like to, once again, send out a HUGE thank you to my Kickstarter project backers who made the Olympic Spirit Project book – with special thanks to my corporate sponsor, Brandy’s Whistler - without all of you this book would never have been possible. You will all find your names on the contributors page of the book, as promised.

I’m flooded with gratitude for the kindness and generosity from all of my family, friends and people I’ve never even met who helped make my Olympic dream a reality! Thank You all for this unforgettable experience!

Special Thanks To…

I’d like to send a special thanks out to a few people who were especially helpful to me on the ground in Sochi – Shauna, Greg, and Jordan – You guys are SUPERHEROES!!

Shauna was at my side on almost a daily basis and was an adventurous partner in crime and the exact Olympic Spirit poster girl I was hoping for when I began this project! Thank You Shauna!

Greg helped me out with Canadian Olympic Spirit swag when my luggage didn’t arrive and he provided me with much needed cold and flu medication when the Sochi Flu knocked me down. To top that off, he was my Olympic Spirit poster boy with his epic custom made Canada suit. Thank you Greg! You’re awesome, as always!

Jordan helped me when I first landed in Russia and got me into the Canada Olympic House open house where I saw President Putin. He also helped me find the giant stack of postcards that I sent off to all my Kickstarter backers. Thank you!

I’m happy to announce that I’ll be sending the eBook out to my Kickstarter backers as promised. You should be receiving it in your inbox soon. If you did not back the project, please visit the web shop to order your very own copy, or click the button below.

Buy eBook!          Buy Printed Book!

I’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Olympic Spirit Project Postcards Are Here!

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I’m so excited to announce that the Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available in the online store! YAY!!! 

BUY NOW!

Why Are Olympic Spirit Project Postcards Awesome?

  • They are an original tangible souvenir from the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games, not a commercialized or virtual product that everyone else has.
  • People LOVE getting personalized mail! All most of us get these days is bills. Send an Olympic Spirit Project postcard to let someone know you’re thinking about them while supporting this inspiring ongoing project!
  • All photos were taken by yours truly in Sochi, Russia during the 2014 Olympic Games
  • They help keep Olympic Spirit alive between Olympic Games
  • Proceeds from postcard sales will go toward continuing the Olympic Spirit Project in Rio, Brazil in 2016 and beyond!

Cards Included in the Olympic Spirit Project Postcard Pack:

The 5-pack of postcards is available for only $17.95 while they last.

If you’re interested in purchasing individual cards or multiple copies of a single card, please contact me for pricing. Quantity discounts available.

BUY POSTCARDS

What’s Next?

The Olympic Spirit Project book is very close to being completed and sent off for publishing! I can’t wait to see the images in print and to share the final book and eBook with you! Stay tuned for updates!

Oh, and if your wondering where I get the cards printed, it’s through the super awesome MOO SHOP. <— Click this link for 10% off your very own MOO order!

 

Please Share the Olympic Spirit With a Tweet!

[Tweet “Check out these awesome #OlympicSpirit Project postcards! #Olympics #Sochi2014″]

 

 

The Molson Canadian Passport Fridge

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One of THE coolest things at the Sochi 2014 Olympics had to be the Molson Canadian Passport Fridge at Canada Olympic House. It’s like a vending machine, only instead of feeding it money, it only opens by scanning a Canadian passport.


Molson Passport Fridge

The fridge was turned on each day of the Games during Victory Hour, between 5pm and 6pm. I was still feeling under the weather and wasn’t sure I would make it to Victory Hour, so I connected with the lovely @MolsonTonia who was kind enough to give me a special viewing. She plugged it in for me when I stopped by Canada House one afternoon. I only had one *little* problem… Not only did I not have my passport on me, I don’t actually HAVE a Canadian passport!

Olympic Spirit Project Postcards are now available!

View Postcards

My Canadian Passport Problem

My family immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands when I was very young and I’m still a landed immigrant and permanent resident. The Dutch government didn’t allow dual citizenship for years and we didn’t want to give up our EU passports and with them our access to work in Europe. The only difference in Canada is that I can’t vote.

A few years ago the rules changed and dual citizenship is now available for those who were too young to make their own choice to leave the Netherlands. This means that my siblings and I are now able to apply for Canadian citizenship without losing our Dutch citizenship. (Yay!) So last year, after I bought my Olympics tickets I sent in my application with the idea that I would have it in time for the Sochi Olympics to access Canada Olympic House. It is now 13 months later, the Olympics are over, and it is STILL being processed. It takes 23 months for a citizenship application to go through the system. Ridiculous, in my opinion, but there’s not much I can do about it. At least I’ll have it in time for Rio 2016! But I digress…

Let’s Open the Fridge!

So after explaining my passport problem to the Molson girls, I embarrassingly asked to borrow one of theirs to open the fridge. And let me tell you, it was nothing short of AWESOME!

Molson Passport Fridge Molson Passport Fridge Molson Passport Fridge

Molson Passport Fridge

I was still feeling under the weather, but was super happy about the beer fridge!

What Was Inside the Fridge?

The fridge contained only victory bottles. Russian customs blocked Molson’s beer shipment from entering the country so the victory bottles were display bottles only and were empty. Because of this, Molson served Heineken and Miller Genuine Draft at Canada Olympic House. Sad, but true.

What made it all ok? I’m Dutch and Molson is the Heineken distributor in Canada, so I was still drinking beer from my homeland, it was just the “other” homeland!

Travels of the Beer Fridge

This wasn’t the Molson Passport Fridge’s first appearance though. Molson has been spreading Canadian spirit all over the world! Check this video out:

Have you opened the Molson Canadian Passport Fridge? Where?

Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available! 

BUY NOW!

 

What happens to Olympic cities after the Games have gone?

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The Olympic Spirit Project is all about the human spirit behind the Olympic Games in both the athletes and the fans. But what happens to Olympic cities after the Games have been and gone?

One of the inspirations for my Olympic Spirit Project Kickstarter campaign was the Olympic City Project by New York photographers Jon Pack and Gary Hustwit. After seeing the success of their crowd-funded project I knew that I, too, could create a successful campaign!

Olympic City Project on Kickstarter

These photographers created a successful Kickstarter project (raising over $66,000 from 1,503 backers) investigating the legacy that the Olympic Games leaves behind in host cities around the world, including the effects the Olympics has had on the people that live there.

“In The Olympic City, we’re documenting the successes and failures, the forgotten remnants and ghosts of the Olympic spectacle. Some former Olympic sites are retrofitted and used in ways that belie their grand beginnings; turned into prisons, housing, malls, gyms, churches. Others sit unused for decades and become tragic time capsules, examples of misguided planning and broken promises of the benefits that the Games would bring. We’re interested in these disparate ideas — decay and rebirth — and how each site seems to have gone one way or the other, either by choice or circumstance. We’re equally interested in the lives of the people whose neighborhoods have been transformed by Olympic development.”
[Source: www.olympiccityproject.com]

Cities Jon and Gary have visited so far include Athens, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Helsinki, Mexico City, Moscow, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, Lake Placid, Rome, and Sarajevo. Images from the project are featured in their first book, which is available in hardcover, deluxe hardcover, and ePub format. And for those of you who like to share the Olympic spirit, they also have a set of 10 postcards available for purchase as well.

The Olympic City Project is an ongoing project and the photographers aim to visit more Olympic cities in future. They mention visiting Vancouver and Sochi in this CTV interview.

For more information about the project, to view some of their photos, or to purchase the book, please head over to the Olympic City Project website.

Olympic City Project deluxe edition book

[Image source: http://olympiccityproject.com/shop/]

Olympic Spirit Project Update

The Olympic Spirit Project is coming along nicely. I’ve finished the image editing and am now researching publishing options before building the book. Stay tuned to the blog for more posts and images from the adventure. I have plenty more to share!

 

Epic Canadian Olympic Fans

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The Olympic Park was all but deserted on the final day of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. There were only two events scheduled that day: Men’s Gold Medal Hockey and the Closing Ceremony. Only those with tickets to at least one of these events were permitted to enter the park.

With Canada playing for GOLD there was a large Canadian presence. I went in early in search of epic Canadian Olympic fans and I found my first group at the first open concession cart buying beer (because a Canadian watching hockey without beer is just wrong!).

Day10-2

Olympic Spirit Project Books and Postcards now available!

Learn More!

Free Beer Guy & Other More Fans

Next I made my way to Canada Olympic House to see who had collected there to prep for the game and this guy walked up with a tray full of beers and started handing them out to fellow Canadians. Did I mention how much I love Canadians?

(Thank you, Free Beer Guy!)

Canadian Free Beer Guy

Next, Shauna and I strolled toward the Bolshoy Arena and came across these Russian guys who unexpectedly swept me off my feet, and then we found more Canadians with flags and a crazy collection of signatures.

Russians and Canadians

Signed Canadian Flag

Signed Canadian Flag

Then there was a couple who almost didn’t make it to Sochi due to a leg injury, but they pushed through and made it, wheelchair and all! Well done guys! Talk about dedicated fans! YAY!

Canadian Fans

The Olympic Party Boy

But the hands-down BEST had to be the “Olympic Party Boy!”

I first met this OPB at the London 2012 Olympics where I got my first introduction to Olympic Party Boy awesomeness. Back in Vancouver, he had mentioned that he was having a custom Canada suit designed by Ash Turner of Mechanic Organic for the Sochi 2014, so I was excited to include it in the Olympic Spirit Project!

He showed up for the Gold Medal Game wearing tailored white pants, a white suit jacket with red arms, “Canada” embroidered on the breast pocket and a giant maple leaf sewn on the back. (You did an phenomenal job Ash Turner!) He topped that off with a red t-shirt, red and white Adidas sneakers and a maple leaf pin on the lapel.

Don’t get me wrong, everyone else looked awesome too with their jerseys, face paint, helmets and flags, but what made this so epic was the originality and the fact that this super classy suit is one of a kind. It just doesn’t get cooler than that! Complete AWESOMENESS!

(Thanks for the photoshoot OPB! Yay!)

Olympic Party Boy - Greg Olympic Party Boy - Greg Olympic Party Boy - Greg Olympic Party Boy - Greg

How did you show your Olympic Spirit during the Games?

 

Olympic Spirit Project BOOKS are now available in Print, ePub and PDF! 

BUY NOW!

Postcards From Russia, With Love!

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Writing Postcards in Russia

As part of my Kickstarter rewards for the Olympic Spirit Project, I had promised to send postcards to my project backers. So on my last couple of days in Russia, after I had somewhat recovered from the flu, and the Games were over I found a nice little patio on the boardwalk along the Black Sea in Adler, ordered a Coke and sat down to deliver on my promise.

I don’t think I’ve ever sent that many postcards all at once! There were 70 cards in total! I can’t even tell you when the last time was that I hand wrote so much all at one time. It was a bit of a reality check as to how much we rely on computers for everything these days, yet refreshing to do something so very analog.

I took a few breaks to relieve the writer’s cramp, but after a couple of hours, two Cokes, and a salad for lunch, I was done! I attached the stamps and went in search of a mailbox.

Sochi 2014 Olympic Postage Stamps

A couple of weeks ago I started getting tweets and messages that the cards were arriving. (Note to self: Postcards from Russia take an entire month to get to their destination!) I asked my backers to send me fun creative photos of their postcards when they received them and here are the pics I’ve received so far. 

Thank you all again for your support on the project! It was an incredible adventure and you all helped make it possible! I will be forever grateful for your support and generosity!

With gratitude,
xo Mariska

PS. If you still have a photo to send me, please do! I will add them to this post when I receive it.

Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available! 

BUY NOW!

 

Team Canada & Bronze Medal Hockey

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When I bought my Olympics tickets in february 2013, I had bought two tickets to the Men’s Bronze Medal Game, since gold tickets were not available at the time. So now, after the game from the previous night, I was stuck with two tickets for a game that Canada would not be playing in.

I had posted my tickets to the Facebook groups as soon as the Canada – USA game ended, hoping to find some Americans to either sell my tickets to or make a trade with. I had a few responses on the Facebook page, but found that a lot of people were flakey and didn’t show up when they said they would, so I was getting a bit frustrated.

Everyone’s Looking For Tickets!

Canadians looking for Gold Medal tickets at Sochi 2014

These guys were AWESOME!

I headed to the Olympic Park and went straight to the Canada and USA houses. I talked to everyone around the two houses and pretty much everyone was hoping to do the same thing as I was. I found one guy, who turned out to be one of the people I had connected with through my Facebook post. He had a single gold ticket, and wanted two bronze for an even trade for him and his friend.

DONE!

Two bronze tickets for one gold ticket!

Bronze for Gold ticket trade at Sochi 2014

Now What?

Since the bronze event was all I had tickets for that day, I was stuck with no events for the day. I decided I wanted to go to the bronze game anyway. I walked over to the Bolshoy and ran into these guys, who were selling their tickets, but at a price that I was not willing to pay.

Canadians selling bronze tickets

Sochi 2014 Olympic Rings & Cauldron

I hung around outside the arena until the game started. (There were always people selling ticket for less than face value after events started.) I took the opportunity to take some pics of the rings and the cauldron and then I saw a group of people in matching Canada gear walking up to the rings. I thought, “Hey! This is perfect Olympic Spirit Project material!” And when I looked closer…

It was THE CANADIAN MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM!!!

Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team 2014

Soch i2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Canadian Men's Olympic Hockey Team 2014

Sochi 2014 Canadian Men’s Olympic Hockey Team

Whaaaaat?!?!?!!! I could NOT believe my luck! It was perfect! I nestled into the crowd and stood front and center right beside the team photographer when I took this photo! YES!! I was SO excited!

Bronze Medal Hockey

So after THAT happened, I found a Canadian couple selling a single bronze ticket for half face value. I paid less than $100 for the ticket and headed inside. You would think the day couldn’t possibly get any better and then I got to my seat. The seat I had just bought for 1/5 the price of my original tickets was BETTER than the ones I had traded with the American guy!  He was sitting about 8 rows behind me!

So I once again counted my blessings of yet another fantastic day as I watched the USA lose to Finland for the bronze medal.

My seat for the bronze medal game

Where were you for the bronze medal game?

Olympic Spirit Project postcards are now available! 

BUY NOW!

 

 

 

Sochi Day 8 – Speed Skating Day!

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Iceberg Skating Palace

It was team pursuit speed skating day!

I went to the Olympic Park early and met up with some other Canadians to grab a couple of drinks (ok, ok, beers…) in the sun before our day’s events. As we sat on our bench, people watching, probably one out of every three Russians walking by either wanted a photo with us or wanted to trade stuff for our Canada gear! We probably posed for about 20 photos that day!

Canadian Beauties!

This super cute Russian girl came up and asked me if she could wear my Canada gear for a photo, so I handed over my flag, toque and mittens, and she ROCKED it! You’d never know that she wasn’t Canadian!

Russian girl in Canada gear

Team Pursuit Speed Skating

When the time came, I headed into the Adler Skating Arena for the speed skating team pursuit event. The short track was so amazing earlier in the week so I was looking forward to watching a team pursuit event. The speed was insane as I watched both the men’s and women’s events. I still cannot believe the size of the athletes’ legs! Wow!

Sadly, Canada didn’t qualify for the finals, so that was a bit disappointing. I was lucky to have had the opportunity to photography the same team when they won gold in the same event at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.

Inside the Iceberg Skating Palace

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Canada - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Canada

Team Russia - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Russia

Team Netherlands - Team Pursuit Speed Skating Sochi 2014

Team Netherlands

After the event was over, I headed toward the Bolshoy Arena to see if I could find a decently priced ticket for the men’s semi-final hockey game. Canada was playing the USA. I didn’t have any luck, so I went to find some food and again, I ran into a group of Canadians in the lineup. This group was a bit different though, in that they had been in Russia working on the Games for over six months already! I chatted with them about their experiences and what it was like to live in Russia and every one of them was looking forward to going home at the end of the month.

Men’s 5000m Relay

After I finished eating, I headed back to the Bolshoy for one last kick at trying to get a ticket to the game and one of that group of Canadians ran after me to give me a ticket to the short track relay event that was about to start. I tried to give him money for it (face value was at $200), but he insisted I just take it and go enjoy myself! Again, I was impressed by how amazingly generous people can be!

When I arrived, the event had already begun. This was a huge event for the Russians and the cheering in the Iceberg Skating Palace was deafening! The relay event was CRAZY! There were so many skaters on the ice all at once, some racing and some circling on the inside getting into position for their turn in the relay. It was a wonder that none of them ran into each other!

Russia wins Gold in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

Russia wins GOLD!

USA wins Silver in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

USA wins Silver!

China wins bronze in the 5000m relay at Sochi 2014

China wins Bronze!

 

The final result of the men’s 5000 meter relay was Russia – Gold, the USA – Silver, and China – Bronze. It was an unbelievable sight and the cheering and support from the crowd was unmatched to anything I had seen at the Games yet! It was absolutely awesome! Just. AWESOME!

A Perfect End to a Perfect Day

I was pumped after all that fan energy at the men’s 5000m relay event! The Canada vs USA men’s hockey game wasn’t quite over so I sweet talked my way past the bouncer at the House of Switzerland (sweet talking bouncers is much easier to do when you are traveling alone) to watch the last 10 minutes of the game. As we all know, Canada WON! and the Swiss House EXPLODED because as usual, it was FULL of Canadians! It was a perfect end to another FANTASTIC day!

Have you ever watched either team pursuit or team relay speed skating? When and where? 

 

CIBC’s Welcome Home to Paralympic Athlete Braydon Luscombe

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This morning I was invited to attend CIBC’s Welcome Home event for local Paralympian, Braydon Luscombe at the bank’s Duncan branch.

Mariska Richters and Braydon Luscombe

Braydon, a 21-year-old para-alpine skier, began para-skiing at age six at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort in BC, as way to help him overcome his impairment. He had his right leg amputated after contracting necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) as a child and competes in the standing category.

I had a chance to chat with Braydon and it was interesting to hear about his Sochi Paralympic experience. Highlights included competing with his team and the incredible support from his family and Canadian fans. For those of you who may have been wondering, the athletes CAN hear you cheering from the gates at the top of the hill before they begin their races! So next time you’re at an alpine competition event, CHEER LOUD!!

Braydon Luscombe

Braydon’s lowlights were mostly snow related. He said it was either heavy and slushy or hard and icy, which made it difficult for the “one-leggers” as he called himself and his team mates. A lesser lowlight was that his practice and  racing schedules were so busy that he did not have time to attend any other Paralympic events. He said he would have to plan that a bit better next time.

Since being home, Braydon has chopped off his mullet and says he has a full appreciation for what us ladies need to do to maintain our lovely locks. He plans to move to Victoria, BC to be closer to an international airport (as he travels about 12 times a year to train and compete), his training facilities, and his girlfriend. He is still deciding on his summer training plans, but he will either be in Victoria or Whistler to train for next season’s competitions.

Braydon competed in six events in Sochi, you’ll find his race results here. He was presented with CIBC’s Welcome Home banner and a Sochi 2014 Paralympics gold coin at the event.  You can follow his ongoing journey via Twitter at @OneLeggedHustla (love the handle!)

Congratulations Braydon!

Braydon Luscombe Braydon Luscombe


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