Kiwi Paralympian surprised during medal ceremony
Veteran Paralympic skier Adam Hall was taken by surprise tonight when he found he was being awarded his bronze medal by fellow kiwi Paralympic legend, Duane Kale, during the official medal ceremony for the Men’s Super Combined Standing event at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.
Kale has been at PyeongChang 2018 in his official capacity as Vice President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), a role he was elected into late in 2017. Over the past 10 days, he has been meeting with South Korean government officials and representatives of National Paralympic Committees, Games organising committees and global sponsors, working to further the objectives of the Paralympic Movement as everyone begins to turn eyes to the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.
Tonight, he took a moment out of his busy schedule to stage a surprise for Hall, a man he has known for more than 14 years. Hall captured the hearts of New Zealanders only two days ago with an honest and emotional post-race interview following a gutsy performance in the Men’s Super Combined Standing. He took himself from 7th at the end of run 1 onto the podium by the end of run 2.
Hall said: “We have been waiting a couple of days for this medal ceremony to finally arrive and tonight it was an absolute honour and privilege to not only to be awarded with my medal finally around my neck but to have it awarded by a fellow kiwi and hugely successful Paralympian Duane Kale, was amazing. It’s finally starting to sink in after the Super Combined race a few days ago. I’m just really happy to finally have this baby around my neck. Hugely honoured and proud to be a kiwi tonight and represent all New Zealanders.”
He continued: “Incredibly today is 8 years to the day since I was presented with my slalom gold medal in Vancouver 2010. With the medal ceremony being pushed back a few days I think it’s happened for a reason. It has made tonight that much more special. So tonight I wanted to give a recognition to those that are gone but are never forgotten, including Mum. To be able to give that respect back by taking a picture of Mum up on the podium meant a lot of me and will for my family and friends too.
Kale said: “Having known Adam for such a long time it was such a special moment to be able to present his medal this evening. When the opportunity arose for me to present the medals for the Super Combined event I was one that I did not want to miss. I have really enjoyed supporting the kiwi Paralympians and following the Team’s success here in PyeongChang. Overall, the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games have been a great success overall in terms of tickets sales and Paralympians performances.”
Kale stayed on to talk to all three New Zealand winter Paralympians, Hall plus fellow bronze medallist, sit skier Corey Peters and Para Snowboarder, Carl Murphy. The team has put in an exceptional effort over the past six days, already meeting their pre-Games medal target of 2, with two more events yet to go – Murphy in the Para Snowboard Banked Slalom tomorrow (Friday) and Hall in the Slalom on Saturday. Kale admired their medals and commended Murphy on his performance earlier this week when he nearly beat the world no 1 in Men’s Snowboard Cross. The Finnish rider went on to win gold.
To add to the significance of the moment this date 8 years ago was exactly the day when Adam was presented with his gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
The PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games Closing Ceremony takes place Sunday 18 March.