According to the official countdown, there’s 127 days, 20 hours until the beginning of the 2012 London Olympic games. And elite athletes and fans alike are anxiously counting.
Another date of note, is the start of the 2012 London Paralympic Games; 29th August 2012. Making it 167 days, 22 hours and about 59 minutes until the Paralympic Games begin.
Enter Dylan Alcott – Uni student by day, elite athlete by night.
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At 21, Dylan, a Paralympic Wheelchair Basketballer for the Australian Men’s team the Wheelers has already won countless international championships with his team. His crowning jewel, however, happens to be a gold medal. At 18, and still completing his VCE studies, Dylan came home with his first gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Paralympics.
Now, most 20-somethings are proud of getting from A to B. To manage to juggle Uni assignments, work shifts and an active social life is somewhat of an achievement to most. We all know that some weeks, it’s likely the assignments fall to the wayside in favour of social commitments. With some unforeseen talent, Dylan manages to do everything; all of it.
With the start date of the 2012 London Paralympics looming, Dylan’s list of to do’s only grows. While his days filled with grueling training and practices, and ruled by strict diets are the norm, Dylan seems to find respite in his time at Uni. Looking around at the caffeinated zombies that seem to populate our uni campus, I ask him to repeat. Uni, a break? But after hearing of the routine that dictates his days, it starts to make a little more sense.
Source: Dylan’s Facebook Page
“All I do is train, go home, sleep, and train again. I’m so sick of sitting around the house, I’m going insane.”
So instead of slobbing around the house, our resident superman heads to classes to massage his muscles between the eyes.
Putting yourself through rigorous diet and training while studying is no mean feat for any athlete. But Dylan was born incredibly sick – cancer on his spinal cord threatened to spread. As a result, Dylan is a paraplegic, restricted to the wheelchair. But restricted is by no means an accurate description. The morning I meet Dylan, he’s been to the gym for two hours already – its 10am. He sits across the table from me, his shoulders umbrella out over his torso, an expanding result of his hard work.
There’s five months the games start and things are only going to get tougher in the build up to the games starting in August of this year. Dylan, however, likes their chances. “We did it once, we can do it again.”
Dylan’s immense list of achievements don’t seem to phase him; “Yeah I guess it’s more than most”, he notes with humility. His humbling presence doesn’t err on the side of bashful. “My medal is my prize possession, I’m not going to lie.” Dylan speaks with pride, particularly about his 2008 Beijing success.
To date, Dylan’s completed VCE in the top 3% of his year level, competed in the Beijing Paralympics and come home with a shiny gold reward, on the way to completing a Commerce degree at University of Melbourne, and now off to London in the hopes of adding another Gold to the mantelpiece. Makes me feel a little guilty. Even envious.
Make sure to be watching the Wheeler’s closely to see if our Clark Kent will continue his plight as our own superman.
For those who want to know more about wheelchair basketball:
And check out: International Wheelchair Basketball Federation