Ellery in­spires, Perkins de­mor­alises

Shepparton News - - SN COMMONWEAL­TH GAMES - Rob Har­ris guest re­porter

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.

Louise Ellery

Shane Perkins

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