OTTAWA – Two-time Paralympian Braydon Luscombe retired from competitive Para alpine skiing after the Canadian championships last month.
At age five, Luscombe’s right lower leg was amputated after he contracted necrotising fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacterial infection. However, he never let his disability slow him down and he went on to a distinguished competitive career and natural team leader with the Canadian national squad.
The 26-year-old from Duncan, B.C. was also a four-time world championship team member and won the bronze medal in the downhill at the 2016 World Cup Final.
In his last race, Luscombe won the silver medal in the slalom at the Canadian championships.
We talked to him a few days afterwards:
Why did you retire?
‘’I was still having a lot of fun skiing and it was a tough decision to stop. But it is time to start making the transfer. I know it won’t be quick. I want to get a job and stay involved in sport. I’m looking forward to this next stage. It’s all going to be new and weird. Skiing is the only thing I’ve done. My interests are in policing and criminology with a focus on forensic or canine training units.’’
What was the highlight of your career outside the Paralympic Games?
‘’Getting my first World Cup podium in Tignes, France in 2016. It was an awesome day with perfect conditions. What was best is that a few other Canadians also won a medal so it was a big day overall.’’
At the World Cup Final last month you raced all-denim in the last GS run. Why?
‘’Every night our team hands out a jean vest to someone for doing something out of the ordinary, whether it was great skiing or something funny. So when I got it, I thought I would top it off with a pair a jeans and go full Canadian. It was an awesome day and it was great to have the whole team there (contributing) to the really good vibes for my last run.’’
Toughest challenge being on the national team?
‘’Definitely the long trips. You’re away from your family and friends for long periods of time. It still gets to you after a long one. Still the team becomes a second family so when those trips end you know you’re also going to miss those fun times and that vibe you developed with your teammates.’’
The future of the Paralympic alpine skiing in Canada?
‘’It was cool at the nationals to see how many young kids are in the development stage right now. I saw four one-legged skiers like me that are teenagers who are on their way up and we had about 15 kids with our NextGen group. It was cool to ski through the inspection with them, help them out and make it fun.’’
‘’My family, mom, dad, siblings, girlfriend, all my friends for sticking through it with me. And I couldn’t have done it without our coaches: Jean-Sébastien Labrie, Will Marshall, Dave White, Lasse Ericsson and all the support staff on the Canadian Para alpine ski team.
“There’s so much that goes into an athlete’s carer from physios to ski techs and I wouldn’t have been able to make to the Paralympic Games without every single person.
‘’It’s an extensive group that drives every little part of you.’’