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Paralympic swimmer inspires student

Paralympic swimmer inspires student

Thursday, August 27, 2015
Categories: Great Things, Happenings @ TDSB, School Web Stories

The Parapan Am Games that recently wrapped up were an enormous success, both in terms of competition results where the host country took 168 total medals and in inspiring Canadians and others around the world with countless exciting performances. One TDSB student who attended the Men’s 100m Backstroke event came away more impressed than ever with a personal hero.

Back in December 2013 Adam Purdy, a three time Paralympic swimmer and double gold medalist at Sydney 2000 games, spoke to students at the "I Can" Bowmore PS Accessibility Day. “His presentation to students was engaging and inspiring as he helped expand their thinking and understanding of what it means to be able,” said former Principal Thelma Sambrook. Purdy was, in fact, retired from swimming at that time but resumed training shortly afterwards so that he could compete at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto.

At the end of his Bowmore presentation he let the students hold his gold medals from the Sydney games. After holding Adam’s medals, six year old Hercules went home and told his mom and dad that he wanted to swim in the Olympics like Adam Purdy one day. At the time Hercules was not a swimmer. His parents did not know who Adam Purdy was but they were thrilled with the impact Adam had on Herc and his desire to learn to swim.

The very determined boy has learned to swim over the course of the last year and now feels confident in the water. His Cerebral Palsy has not held him back. He regularly uses the Bowmore pool, which has allowed him the opportunity to do something that he loves to do and grow in strength, ability and confidence. He now swims like a fish, and thrives in the water. 

Leading up to the Parapan Am Games Hercules, his family and Sambrook reached out to Purdy to let him know they had tickets to the games and would be attending to cheer him on in his final swim race. 
On Friday, August 14, dressed in red, and poster in hand, Hercules attended the Parapan Am Games to wave and cheer on his favourite swimmer. He watched with excitement as Purdy finished second to win the silver medal.
After the medal ceremony Purdy met with Hercules. He posed for pictures and let Hercules hold the silver medal.  Purdy and his family gave Hercules an official "Purdy Team T-shirt" and they provided him with words of encouragement to keep swimming, and dream big. They also gave a boy continued inspiration and a memory to cherish for many years to come.


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