Row­ing opens door to Par­a­lympics for Frost

Orleans Star - - LOCAL SPORTS - Dan Plouffe daniel.plouffe@transcontinental.ca

Or­léans’ Kevin Frost is set on re­al­iz­ing his dream of tak­ing part in the Par­a­lympic Games any way he can. That’s why the deaf-blind ath­lete turned to row­ing in the sum­mer­time since his orig­i­nal pur­suit of speed­skat­ing re­mains off the of­fi­cial Par­a­lympic ros­ter.

“It’s like speed­skat­ing be­cause it’s very pre­cise,” says Frost, who is mid­way through his third row­ing sea­son.“In any sport, you can’t just learn overnight. It takes about five years min­i­mum to re­ally get it.”

Frost at­tended a se­lec­tion camp for the na­tional adap­tive row­ing team in May, but has since been com­pet­ing in Mas­ters com­pe­ti­tions with able-bod­ied row­ers from the Ottawa Row­ing Club since other ath­letes were cho­sen to com­pete in World Cup events.

“I wasn’t up­set,” Frost notes. “I didn’t make the cut, but what was en­joy­able about it is that it taught me how much more im­por­tant tech­nique is in all sports, but es­pe­cially in row­ing.”

It takes a lot of ded­i­ca­tion – in­clud­ing a 4:30 a.m. wakeup for morn­ing prac­tices when the wa­ter is calm – to learn how to row prop­erly, Frost adds. On top of that, there’s plenty more to learn in a com­pe­ti­tion set­ting, such as a re­cent re­gatta in Montreal when his team’s boat was blown into an­other lane by a fierce wind in rough wa­ters.

“Able-bod­ied peo­ple can see and hear their waves and I can’t,” notes Frost, who was told by the Cana­dian coach that he has plenty of po­ten­tial. “She said, ‘You’re miss­ing the two most im­por­tant things in row­ing – your hear­ing and your vi­sion – so you’re go­ing on some­thing that’s never been done in the sport of row­ing.’”

Frost has yet to make it onto the in­ter­na­tional stage for Canada, but there may be a few doors open­ing for him in the near fu­ture. Cur­rently, adap­tive row­ing places ath­letes with dif­fer­ent dis­abil­i­ties to­gether (a leg am­putee and a vis­ually-im­paired ath­lete could both be mem­bers of the same boat, for ex­am­ple), but Frost has heard the In­ter­na­tional Par­a­lympic Com­mit­tee will cre­ate a cat­e­gory ex­clu­sively for the vi­su­al­ly­im­paired prior to the 2012 Par­a­lympic Games in Lon­don, Eng­land.

Frost was also re­cently told by a Rideau Ca­noe Club of­fi­cial that the same is true for kayak­ing, so he may give that sport a try as well.

“Of course I want to make the Par­a­lympic team,” says Frost, who also takes an in­ter­est in try­ing curl­ing or alpine ski­ing. “That would be a way for me to con­quer what I want to achieve. That would be the ideal way to fin­ish.”

Frost tar­gets the 2012 Games since that will hope­fully have given him enough time to learn, train and per­fect his row­ing tech­nique.

Frost has also started a blog at kev­in­frost.word­press.com.

Photo sup­plied

Kevin Frost (left) worked out with the Cana­dian adap­tive row­ing team in May, but wasn't se­lected to be a part

of the in­ter­na­tional boat. Frost still hopes to im­prove his tech­nique in time for the 2012 Par­a­lympic Games.

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