Greg Westlake: My Proud Paralympian Story


I was actually born with both my feet
but they were never going to be fully functional so it’s just a decision
between my parents and the doctors to do the amputation when I was a few months old. I’m missing both my feet so I’m a double
leg amputee below the knee. I learned to skate when I was three four years old on two artificial legs and grew up playing stand up hockey. For me the
frustrating thing was not excelling the way that I thought I should in my
mind. In my mind, I was put on this earth to play hockey it’s all I’ve wanted to
do since I came out of the womb. I just didn’t understand why I couldn’t be that
first guy in the NHL with two artificial legs. I didn’t know what sledge hockey was
growing up. I’d never met somebody that was in a wheelchair. I’d never played
against somebody else that was missing a leg or anything like that so once I was
15 – 16 years old, I got to go out and try sledge hockey and I was able to
really look at it for what it was and that’s an amazing sport. When I met the players on Team Canada
growing up and just saw how seriously they took the sport how skilled they
were and I just knew right then I needed to be a part of it.
Mentally because I grew up playing stand-up hockey, I knew the basics so for
me it was about learning a new skill set. How do I learn to shoot with one hand
how do I shoot with my left hand how do I become ambidextrous and that’s a
lot of work. For me the Winter Paralympics is an A+ grade A sporting event and you’re a kid in Canada and you get to watch other people who wear that
jersey and play hockey for Team Canada that’s a very special thing. I’ve met the
best people in my life through Paralympic sport. Every day bad things
happen to everybody on this earth, it’s how you take these negatives and
move on and I don’t think there’s a better example older than the
Paralympics

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