Heart of Paralympic Gold: A leg that was lost in Charlotte has yielded a new dream to Paris (2024)

It is the week on the fourth July andCarson CloughExplains a feeling that he is known forever.

That is the feeling when everything adapts: when the water of the coast of Virginia Beach vary at the right time when he pedsed at the right speed when he jumps on the surfboard with exactly the right amount of finesse and focus and fearlessness.He describes it as 'incredible'.For someone who does not live too much on something that prefers blacksmith, Clough doesn't mind talking about surfing - even if it represents everything that has changed in his life.

"Are you sleeping at all?"Clough asks me.The stunning goat coffee burners, a coffee house that helped Clough, 30, open with a business partner in the summer of 2020. Clough wears a white football shirt with some chocolate spots on it and a hat that covers his liquid blond hair.To talk about the tests and triumphs with which Clough has had to deal with the past five years.

In the summer of 2019, Clough lost almost both feet in a sailing accident in Norman Lake.Part of the right leg was not. Hans amputated right leg was then replaced by a prosthetic - a leaf of carbon fiber that is sucked on his right -hand calf and then attached to a long metal strip and a feather foot - and now, a long story that Clough preparesRepresented Team USA in 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

The native Charlotte and Resident are a triathlete, which means that he competes in the event that running and swimming combines.No.2 In the triathlon of the world -qualificationAnd third in the Para Triathlon rank with four victories, nine podiums and 19 starts in his career.

He somehow made a life-threatening moment for a one-in-one million chance.".

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But if there is one thing he could change, it would be his current status to surf what it feels like to be on the water - the place where he learned to match life and downs of life where his grandfatherThe water threw with a life jacket when he was 2 meters long, where the endless energetic big brother could temporarily stop competing with his sister, cannon and younger brother, Cole, and just lives.

Surfing was about like a meditative activity that Clough had completed.

"It was for me in my two -legs life," explains Clough."One leg, not so much at the moment. Because of my leg. A surfbone has a pin that locks itself. At the moment I only have sucking and then every time I surf, I risk my leg falling off."

He laughs: "That's the # 1 thing that frustrates me that has changed."

He loses a step like a surfer - like in: he is still a good surfer but notawesomeAs he once was - a reflection of how much he likes to catch waves, but it is also a reflection of the unreliable positive guy that Clough is, of the inspiration that Clough has become, of the new dream that Clough has been chased.

The dream that started in the water.

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Becomes a triathlete

Stay, Calder.

It is early Saturday morning in Alexander Graham Middle School Track in Charlotte, and Clough is busy beating a certain rust.Calder is his service dog - a vertical yellow lab - and the Calder jogs along Clough's side to the first round of the runner.

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Clough estimates that he spends about 30 hours a week for training.Went on to the Lacrosse team of UNC-Chapel Hill-But never suggested becoming a triathlete.At the moment I amhadswimming."

But in recent years things have been in a way that is difficult to understand today.

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It started two and a half years ago, early 2022, when Clough was invited to request a Talent -ID camp that was set up by the American triathlon.said, but it is now unimportant.For a long time assistant -coach for Team USA Paralympic Triathlon -Team.

Sortino could see that Clough was immediately a fame, he said.

"He appeared in ordinary shorts," Sortino said about their first meeting.brought his glasses.I literally think it's.

"After a few days we did a test with him in the pool and he had a very good time, and his stroke looked really good. And I asked him:" Hello swam, did you swam competitive? "And he'sAs "no."And I like it, how is it possible? "

Sortino and Clough then worked together.Clough continued to show signs of potential, and Sortino continued to show this potential in the right direction.Sortino and the simplified motto of the coach for a rather complex sport: "What are we doing well?"

The work all came upside down - and quickly - when Sortino called Clough in June 2022 and told him a few runners fell outAn important international race in France and that Clough was now on the mailing listAnd that he should run in it.Clough listened.Improved, just like his notoriousness.

Clough had three chances to be sent to Paralympics.He could first be completed secondWorld cups.He could first have been placed secondParisian test event, that happened at the end of August.Or he could have walked first or second at the continental championships that took place in Miami last March.

Clough won de race in Miami.

"I was one of the coaches who rode one of the first certified Para triathlon camps in 2010," said Sortino."And I have never seen anyone (Rise as Carson has)."

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"Does he live?"

Clough took his first steps as a single -legged man on January 1, 2020. He started running the triathlons in 2022 and is ready to run after the flag later this summer.

That all limits to the incredible.

It does it especially when you consider that he could be dead before something happened.

The night when Carson Clough lost his leg and saw his life change forever, his parents were at home.9 The phone called and Barry noted that he was throwing the stairs and the sheriff told him everything he knew - that was that Carson a sail accidenthad had and that he was the air life and ... yes ...

"That's all we had," said Brenda.

Barry added: "We didn't know where to go, or something."

Barry and Brenda would share exactly in the coming hours and days.

Carson was on a friend's boat with a few of his friends surfing.He loved sport.His MBA from Florida Tech to make an idea for a company - he was on the water.According to reports in the media, when the boat turns around to pick it up, his legs "tailored to the props of the boat", the part where the knives turn around.in the water."

Carson said he doesn't remember much pain."Adrenaline, honey, my best friend!"He says now., and "I was immediately like:" Ok, we have a problem. Ald finds a solution. "" There was no time to panic.With pain medicine and soon returned to his fake charm and looked out over the city and asked if someone in the helicopter had a diet to massage the cramp in his IT tape on his right leg.

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While this was all going on, Barry drove to the lake."Does he live?"

In the meantime, Brenda called local hospitals until she heard itCarolinas Medical Center, that about half a mile was of their house, had just allowed Carson.

"I'm going into the room," said Brenda, "and Carson is still on Gurney, and he talked to these people around him and he sees me and he raises his head and goes:" Mom, I have a good time.Fantastic.''

Before he was driven during an immediate operation to master his right leg, his mother answered.

"I went to his head and I said," Yes, you are all right because I'm talking to you, "she said."This is a bit shock in the way of you. "

She continued: "And he said," Mom, I'm good.There are people on the boat you need. "And I said," Honey, we have this. "

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One challenge the Carson Clough Purchase

Getting up after such an injury is rarely linear or polished or light.The parents of Carson explain that they were looking for a piece of uplifting information during the day they could stay and participate.The visitors who came through his room in the nine days after his immediate operation is another by his friends who are responsible for him at home, another is the first time that Carson was driving a car with his mother in the passenger seat.

But the only thing that stands out the most is the perspective that Carson had - the positivity and selflessness that would not be denied.

That was the only way he would let it go.A much more difficult, emotional sadness, and he considered it his job to never live, move forward - so that everyone around him could.

"The way I looked at it is:" Why am I getting all this? "Said Carson.He added: 'Yes, I have a bit to complain about.I'm glad she gave it to me. "

He continued: "I didn't know I would be ready for it then, and there would be challenges that would test me again." Heh, I'm still ready for this? "way for prepared. "

When he sent this perspective from Clough, Sortino took admiration.

"I like it," said the coach."I don't think many people have it. I think it is binding on his character as a person who doesn't waste time, not the life you know?"

Barry said simple and lovingly, "He is a unique man."

To find a new balance

Last week Clough ran his off -week on the water.Virginia Beach.ham and a surfboard.For the first time, to prevent his legs from falling into the sea, Clough decided to keep the prosthesis and on his knees it worked.

"Oh my God," Clough remembers, thinking, "I will get the same feeling."

Five years ago he almost died in the water.This week, one leg down and an Olympic Games for him, it's hard to imagine that Clough could have feel more lyter.

Heart of Paralympic Gold: A leg that was lost in Charlotte has yielded a new dream to Paris (2024)
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