The Beijing Winter Paralympic Games 2022Andre Barbieri
(Preface: My post in March simply vanished from the blog; I’m re-doing this since I haven’t shared my Beijing experience.
“You only get one life, and I’m fortunate to still have mine.”
We did it guys, I am officially a Paralympian:)))
It was about 2 weeks of pure magic and fun moments lived in China. Of course, with the nerves & anxiety & expectations that come with racing as well —all expected.
The training camp prior to the Games was crucial, and I improved a lot thanks to my coach and the work we put in on Canada. A lot of people were surprised with how much better I was riding, including coaches & athletes from other nations.
I am so grateful and look fwd to so many things! The Paralympics were an unforgettable experience and I proved I belonged there with my performance. I knew I was not likely a podium contender; I did my best & finished 13th on both Snowboard Cross & Banked Slalom races. Each had 16 athletes; I could have done better at both, but not by much. Very talented and seasoned veterans were all going for the same goal so it was hard.
There’s a lot of pressure on the daily at these events, but it’s helpful when you acknowledge it; I get to do so much cool stuff in my life —that is a privilege!
China as a country was closed for outsiders. Only us athletes, federations’ officials and media were allowed in. It was quite unique… airport was open only for us, the roads were all empty to get to the competition/village area —about 3 hours from Beijing.
The Paralympic (Olympic) village was awesome, with a 24hs buffet that had so many food options, just amazing! There was also a gym/games compound which was unreal with a lot of VR games & experiences, ping pong and pool tables.
PCR test was every day, we were not allowed to leave the village without a negative result.
Ottobock had several clinics to help with prosthetic/wheelchair repairs. They were crucial for me; helped & fixed a socket problem I had that could have been dangerous if left unattended.
What amazed me the most was how great the 9000 volunteers worked so we could have a great time. Thank you for all of those, it was nothing short of amazing!!
I’m super motivated to keep going, as long as family and work will be ok with that. It’s a balancing act!
I’ll share more experiences soon and appreciate everyone that follows me on this journey! -Xièxiè! -Thank you! -Gracias! -Obrigado!