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Sunday, May. 19, 2019
A special set of Games, beyond the medals
by Randy Pascal

Collin Cameron has set the bar high.

Truth is that it's going to be tough for the native of Bracebridge who moved to Sudbury more than five years ago to duplicate the experience he enjoyed at his first set of Paralympic Games last month in Pyeongchang.

And it goes well beyond the three bronze medals that he proudly displays upon his return to Canada.

“The atmosphere was electric,” noted the 29 year-old para-nordic competitor, who initially took up the sport less than three years ago. “Everybody was so wound up and ready to compete. It was a pretty cool atmosphere.”

“The athletes' village was a pretty interesting place, with so many athletes from so many different nations. There is definitely a huge difference, compared to World Cups and other events that I've been to.”

Thankfully, Cameron was not terribly overwhelmed by his exciting new surroundings. “It's about finding that balance and being smart about things,” he explained. “Making sure you have a good balance of the social aspect, doing some extra-curricular stuff, and making time to recover and rest for the next day.”

All in all, the end result was likely even better than Cameron could have ever imagined. “It was kind of out of this world,” he laughed. “I felt awesome going into it. We spent a week in Japan to acclimatize and stuff. I think that was big key for a lot of our team, to get over the jet lag. I totally felt in the zone – all of my training really came together that whole week.”

Even as he strayed outside of his comfort zone, success would follow. More of a sprint specialist over the course of the past year or so, Cameron would hit the podium in the 4 X 2.5km relay, as well as the 7.5km biathlon and the 15 km biathlon.

“I've been doing biathlon since I started, really, it just hasn't been my forte, it wasn't really on the radar,” he said. “I was really just doing biathlon for the extra race starts. I was still taking it seriously, because it is totally different. I like the precision of it and the procedure of it. I find it really interesting.”

"That first biathlon race, I was going into it exactly the same as last year in Korea, just using it as a warm-up race, get the nerves out. This was only the second time doing the long distance biathlon event. We kind of figured we might as well do another race rather than take the extra days off."

Cameron's performance did not go unnoticed. In fact, it's been something of a whirlwind since his return to his home province. “To be honest, the Paralympics usually getting pushed to the back-burner after the Olympics,” he noted. “It definitely seemed in Sudbury and back home in Bracebridge and some of the other smaller towns in the Muskokas, they really got behind their local athletes.”

“That's the coolest part, getting the sport out there, the exposure for the sport.”

Though the Paralympics marks the end of his 2017-2018 racing calendar, Cameron will be right back at it, training again in just a couple of weeks time, gearing up for another big event roughly twelve months down the road.

"We're having World Championships in British Columbia in February of 2019," he stated. "We don't often get to host a World Cup, let alone a World Championship in Canada. We're pretty much going into next year as we did last year. We all want to go and race as well as we can at home."

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