Rowing opens door to Paralympics for Frost
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.
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.