Ellery inspires, Perkins demoralises
Mary Pickford, the glamorous silent film actress of the early 20th century once said: ‘‘If you have made mistakes, even serious ones, there is always another chance for you. What we call failure is not the falling down but the staying down.’’
In this sense cycling brat Shane Perkins could learn plenty from compatriot Louise Ellery.
These two were the worst and the best of Australian sport on day three of competition.
The more liberal among us would write off Perkins’ two-fingered salute at an official as blip, but those who have followed his career know better.
Perkins has plenty of which to be thankful.
He’s been given more than one chance, more than one opportunity and he is in grave danger of showing contempt to those who have stuck by him.
If he wasn’t any good, he would have been tossed long ago.
Shepparton cycling followers know talented junior Perkins pipped Daniel Thorsen for gold at theWorld Youth Championships in Los Angeles six years ago.
He later tested positive to a banned substance — methamphetamine.
His defence was it was inadvertently taken in a nasal inhaler, which in the US contained the ingredient where in Australia it didn’t.
He was looked upon favourably by the Court of Arbitration for Sport and banned for six months.
Thorsen was not elevated to the gold — and no longer rides at the elite level.
A string of behavioural issues and a drunken conflict have followed and he has been disciplined by his governing body on more than one occasion.
He has since said he turned the corner after becoming a father.
Then he shows us all on the track he hasn’t.
Perkins would do well to learn of Louise Ellery, who on Wednesday night won gold in the F32 women’s shot put for elite athletes with a disability.
From her wheelchair she threw 6.17 m.
The 33-year-old was left in a vegetative state in 1998 after a car accident put her in a coma for five months.
She has overcome her severe brain injury to be a two-time Paralympian.
She was a fashion model and a healthy, active young woman. Then her life was plunged upside down.
Her immense pride at receiving her gold medal was one of sport’s great sights.
If anyone has a right to complain it’s Ellery.
She grabbed her second chance with both hands. Plenty can be learnt from her.