At the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, an incident occurred that led many to believe in miracles. Australian skater Stephen Bradbury won the gold medal and became a national hero at home, because before that, the Olympians from the hot continent had never become the first in winter sports. The circumstances of this race were so striking that an expression appeared in the English language. Literally it means or.
Stephen Bradbury was born in Australia on October 14, 1973. The young athlete showed great promise. Already at the age of 18, he became the world short track speed skating champion and later participated in the 1992 Olympics. However, three years later, Bradbury appears to be on a losing streak. Speed skating is very dangerous because of its high speed, and terrible injuries occur in it.
During the competition, Bradbury faced an opponent. His thigh was so cut with a ridge that more than a hundred stitches had to be applied. The athlete lost a lot of blood and could not train for several years. Then in 2000, having returned to the big sport, the skater again got into trouble. In training, a teammate fell in front of him, and in order not to injure the fallen one, Stephen jumped over him, but could not stay on the ice and crashed into the side. The result is a broken neck and a long rehabilitation in a corset. Doctors predicted that Bradbury would not be able to return to the sport, but he would not listen to anyone.
It is difficult even to imagine what the athlete went through in order to return to the ice and get into the national team of the country after such severe injuries, but he succeeded in less than two years. In 2002, he again participated in the Winter Olympics, this was his fourth Olympiad. However, it is still difficult to deceive nature. The athlete returned to the team, but the very first days of the competition showed that he would not have to count on victory.
In the 1000m quarterfinals, Bradbury seemed to have caught his luck slipping away, and now he was starting to get lucky. The Australian athlete got to the semifinals thanks to the disqualification of one of the rivals and, without any illusions, calmly moved behind everyone. However, on the last lap one of the athletes “went into the wall”, two more collided and Bradbury, who unexpectedly turned out to be the second, reached the final.
In the finale, a real show took place. Bradbury still calmly walked behind everyone, and with a noticeable delay, but in the end all four of his competitors simply fell, and the Australian slowly crossed the finish line. So for the first time an athlete from the Southern Hemisphere won the winter Olympic gold. A little later, for this amazing victory, Bradbury received an order at home, a postage stamp was issued in his honor, because luck is a very capricious lady, and the ability to tame her is also a kind of feat.
Videos of amazing races at the 2002 Winter Olympics (short track, 1000 meters)
However, Stephen Bradbury did not exploit his bluebird for a long time and after that memorable Olympiad he left the big sport. For several years he commented on short track competitions, and then became interested in auto racing.
At the same 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, a Russian pair of skaters also surprised the audience. Elena Berezhnaya climbed the pedestal, although not long ago she could hardly walk.She entered the list of Athletes who have reached unprecedented heights after serious injuries.