All the world’s a stage, and come spring time, at the paralympic games in Sochi, Russia, one of the major players will be Ian Lockey. Originally hailing from Auckland, New Zealand, Lockey has called Rossland home for the last 10 years, and will compete for Canada in Border X at the Paralympic games in March. This will be the first time Border X will be an event at the paralympic games, but Lockey is no stranger to competing at the highest levels in his discipline.
Lockey has placed 1st overall in the 2009/2010 USASA Nationals, 3rd in the 2010 Para-Snowboard World Cup at Mt. Tremblant, 3rd in the 2009 Para-Snowboard World Championship in New Zealand, and competed at the 2011 Winter Adaptive X Games at Copper Mountain, USA, though a shoulder injury kept him from finishing.
“The Winter X Games was my first introduction to the big show,” said Lockey. “That was the first time there were huge crowds watching what you were going to do, and the athletes were seen as a sort of entertainment.”
A serious crash while snowboarding in New Zealand back crushed 3 of his vertebrae, causing him to suffer an incomplete spinal injury. He only has 50% use of his muscles from the waist down, and his adaptation involves running a 3rd strap, attached to his highback, so when he leans forward on his board, the strap helps shoulder the workload.
Lockey has been involved with the Canadian Snowboard Federation Adaptive Snowboarding program since 2006. Over half of his training has taken place at Red Mountain with the Red Mountain Snowboard Academy. With the Paralympics fast approaching, the training regiment is getting ramped up.
“This weekend I’m heading to Banff and Lake Louise to train for the remainder of November, then in December I head to Big White,” said Lockey. “I’ll be back in Rossland for Red’s opening day, though.”
Part of Lockey’s training involves working with a sports psychologist, which has been helping him deal with the oft troublesome ‘fight or flight’ response.
“Whenever the heart-rate starts rising and the body is on edge, I’ve been trying to remember, ‘are you breathing in and out?’, which has really worked to immediately quell any anxiety,” says Lockey.
To ‘make it stick’, before he leaves, Lockey is going to head to the local tattoo shop in town and get those words tattooed on his arm. “That’s my go to for this year.”
Anyone interested in learning more about Lockey and his story can check out his website. There, you can also find links to help support him on his journey to the Para-Olympics. Rossland and Red Mountain will be glued to TV’s everywhere in March to see Lockey make history in Sochi!