Former SUSF scholarship holder Toby Kane has finished his third and final Paralympic Games off in style, winning Australia’s first medal in Sochi.
The one-legged alpine skier claimed the men’s standing giant speed slalom bronze medal following a brilliant Super G race at Rosa Khutar Alpine Centre on Friday.
Competing in his second Paralympic Games – he won bronze in the Super-G as a 19-year-old in Torino in 2006 while completing a Bachelor of Medical Science degree at The University of Sydney – Kane finished 4.42 seconds behind Russian gold medallist Alexey Bugaev. Matthias Lanzinger, of Austria, claimed silver.
Kane’s bronze medal performance was all the more impressive after an admittedly poor slalom run, which forms one of the two timed standing giant speed slalom events.
“Amazingly happy,” Kane explained after the Super-G. “I thought it was going to be tough. I was pretty disappointed with my slalom run the other day.
“It was probably my worst run of the Games, and I thought the distance to third was going to be tough to get.”
Following his phenomenal performance in Sochi, Kane also announced his retirement from the sport.
“I didn’t know how hard these things (a bronze medal) were to get, in Torino,” he said. “I was 19 and I was at my first Games, I put a run down there and snuck onto the podium.
“I really learnt to appreciate it in Vancouver, and now I’ve learnt to appreciate just how hard they are to come by.”
He will not only leave the sport as a three-time Paralympian and two-time bronze medallist, but also as the deserved winner of the 2014 Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award – after being recognised for his role in spreading the Paralympic message and best exemplifying the spirit of the Paralympics.
“I’m a very proud Paralympian,” Kane said. “And I really believe in sport for people with a disability in terms of what it can show the world.”
“To hear about the award and what it signifies is icing on the cake for sure and it’s amazing at my last games to be part of the closing ceremony and achieve this,” Kane said.
“He’s absolutely deserving of the award because of the work he does with children, with other athletes,” said Australia’s Chef de Mission Chris Nunn.
“He’s such a fantastic leader amongst the winter and summer athletes within Victoria and around the rest of Australia.”