Great strides in skater's life

NADIA MOHARIB, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:57 PM ET

Rather than letting his disabilities slow him down, Kevin Frost has chosen to blindly but bravely take great strides in his life.

And the deaf and blind Ottawa man - one of 330 competitors in the World Masters’ International Speed Skating Games taking place at Calgary’s Olympic Oval - practises what he preaches.

“I’m the first disabled person to compete in an international able-bodied event,” the 39-year-old said on Saturday.

“My philosophy has been if someone throws you a negative, throw a positive back.”

Frost’s first life-altering health issue hit when he was just 11 when he began losing his hearing.

He learned to lip read, finished school and got a job.

In 2002, his sight began to fail and he was diagnosed with the rare genetic disorder Usher’s Syndrome, also known as retinitis pigmentosa.

Today, Frost has only 15% of his hearing and with 5% vision sees the world through what he compares to “looking through two McDonald’s straws.”

Although the difficult transition from life as a workaholic to trying to navigate daily life with disabilities hit him “like a brick wall,” Frost said he chose to make the most of it.

Off-ice, he’s a motivational speaker who focuses on how to be sensitive to the deaf and blind and making the best of a situation.

“There’s no sense in looking back,” the father of three said.

“I might as well work with what I have and I guess that’s the biggest lesson ... there’s always hurdles but never give up on your dreams.”

To that end, the former hockey coach began speed-skating in 2003 and has competed with sighted skaters ever since.

“Some people ask ‘What are you doing here?’ and I tell them ‘ I’m doing the same thing you are,’ ” he said.

Olympic Oval spokeswoman Bridget Cox said Frost was pretty much just another competitor at this week’s Masters’ except officials arranged to wave an orange flag - instead of ringing a bell - to indicate the final lap.

“I think it’s great,” she said.

“He’s done a lot to be on the same level with the other athletes.”

Frost placed 27 out of 31 in his age category in the Calgary competitions and set a new personal best.

Visit www.deafblindspeedskater.com for more information on Frost’s story.


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