August 29th 2012 the Paralympics will be held in London and as the world looks on after the Olympics here is an amazing spectacle to be seen.

An Example of greatness is Matthew Lack

On the 29th of August once the dust has settled from the Olympics the world Paralympics will commence in London. Amongst the teams and individuals is a young man named Matthew Lack who at the age of 18 is heading towards gold.

Matthew comes from a small town in New Zealand called Opotiki where the farms are large, the sheep are many and you can usually see Matthew out on his hand cycle putting in mile after mile on the open roads.


Opotiki also sits in a wonderful natural environment, close to the sparkling Pacific Ocean coast and the bush-clad Raukumura mountain range. You can experience world-class fishing, diving, hiking and a wealth of other activities. The pretty Waioeka and Otara rivers pass right through town, and are frequently paddled by kayakers.

It is here that Matthew has set his sights on the 2012 Paralympics. He has suffered from Spina Bifida since birth and even with such a debilitating challenge he has never been put off from his goals.  

Matthew first became interested in wheelchair racing when he went to the Eve Rimmer Games in Whakatane a few years ago. It’s a fun event that gives disabled people the opportunity to try out activities like swimming, track and field, para-equestrian, wheelchair racing and wheelchair basketball. 

The lessons we can learn from someone like Matthew are huge. In order to succeed at anything in life even if we have reasonable health can be a challenge but if we also ahve to cope every day with some debilitating illness or disabilty the problems are compounded and we have to dig even deeper to be able to succeed.

What can I do to succeed?

  1. Set goals that are a stretch. Don't just choose the goal that is within sight but one that is just over the horizon and out of sight but you know it is there.
  2. Set a timeframe to achieve the ultimate goal and the break it down into small bite sized pieces, set some milestones along the way.
  3. Reward yourself for small victories then get back on the bike until you crack the goal.
  4. Never, ever, ever give up on your goals and dreams.
  5. Don't listen the the doomsayers, those people who would rather have you fail than succeed because it ultimately makes them feel better to bring you to their level.
  6. If you cannot stop the doomsayers then find new friends who support you goals and vision.
  7. Communicate your goals and vision to your trusted friends. Don't tell everyone, they will either not believe you can do it or will try to talk you out of it.

Seven simple steps to going from somewhere to everywhere. Imagine the challenges that a Spina Bifida patient has to put up with just to get out of bed every day, to shower when you cannot walk, to reach the milk bottle in the fridge or to carry out most of the things most of us take for granted and then on top of that get on a bike that you can only ride by using your hands to turn the wheel... how humbling.

Matthew Lack in comparison to most paralympic athletes could be considered pretty well off from a disability point of view, there are those who are in a much, much worse state and yet from out of the depths of their determination they pull out all stops to be able to produce amazing record breaking results and win gold, silver and bronze medals.

We don't know how lucky we are. If we did we would probably be doing a great deal more with our lives than we currently are. 

18 Year old Matthew Lack so young and determined.

Matthew Lack in actionMatthew in full swing.