With the Olympic Winter Games winding down, attention in Sochi is starting to turn toward the next major sporting event that will be held there: the Paralympic Winter Games, which start in two weeks.
One athlete has taken an unlikely road to his third Paralympics.
Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Ralph Green had lofty goals.
“I’ve always been the best pretty much that I did. I wanted to be the MVP of the team in football. I wanted to be the MVP of the team in basketball, baseball, tennis whatever,” Green said.
However, when he was 16, Green was mistakenly shot on a street corner. He lost his left leg, but not his love for sports.
“When I first lost my leg I had to find something to be active in. I needed something to challenge me. Skiing was the one thing that kicked me in the butt. It was not as easy as I thought it was going to be, especially ski racing. I fell probably the first couple of years of my ski competition career. I learned how to finish and I learned how to go fast,” Green said.
Taking up skiing was never about becoming an elite racer.
“I pretty much did it initially just to brag to my friends and tell them I went skiing. It was something like when you’re in Brooklyn and you get the chance to go to the Poconos or you get the chance to come to California or Colorado. You know that’s bragging rights with your friends.”
But skiing has taken him much further than that. In Sochi, he will compete in his third Paralympic Winter Games and he’s determined to leave a mark well beyond the slopes.
“To this day I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to perfect the craft of skiing but I choose to use the majority of my motivation from digging deep down inside to someday create a legacy, you know, to be in the history books 100, 200, or 1,000 years from now. This kid from the big city managed to defy expectations.”