She took up skiing to help with cerebral palsy, now she’s at the Paralympics

Para-alpine skier Mel Pemble of Victoria was true to her word. She was only 14 when she won two medals at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George.

After that achievement, she said: “Some say I might be a bit young yet for Pyeongchang, but that’s my goal and I’m going to keep going and see where it takes me.” She is indeed in Pyeongchang as the 2018 Winter Paralympics began today with the opening ceremony

Mel Pemble at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George BC. Submitted photo

Cleve Dheensaw, Times Colonist March 9, 2018

Pemble was born with cerebral palsy and immigrated to the Island from England with her family in 2009. Her family thought it might be helpful for her to get into a physical activity.

“We thought it would be good for Mel’s balance and co-ordination if she learned to ski,” said her mother, Rachael Chubb-Higgins, who is in Pyeongchang to cheer on her daughter, along with Mel’s dad Simon Pemble.

“She got stronger and faster.”

But Mel Pemble admits to being terrified the first time she looked down the slopes from the top of Mount Washington. It didn’t help that she twisted her knee the first time she tried skiing in France.

“But then I tried it again at Mount Washington, and with instructor Dave Brown, I really enjoyed it. That’s where it all started,” she has said.

“It’s definitely the speed [that drew her to the sport]. I love going fast.”

Pemble first came to notice by winning two gold medals at the B.C. Winter Games and being named to the provincial Paralympic prospects team. Now she will race in all five para-alpine events in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang.

Pemble, through Podium Search, was also identified as a prospect in cycling.

“Maybe 2020 [Tokyo Summer Paralympics] after 2018 [Pyeongchang],” she quipped, at the time.

Who knows? Pemble has been as good as her word so far in the world of sports.

Meanwhile, skier Braydon Luscombe of Duncan, a veteran of Sochi 2014, will compete in his second Winter Paralympics in five events over the next two weeks in Pyeongchang. It has been quite a journey since he skied as a teenage volunteer fore-runner to help groom the course for the competitors in his home-province 2010 Vancouver Winter Paralympics.

The 25-year-old Islander lost a leg to amputation after contracting flesh-eating disease when he was four years old. A gifted artist who designs tattoos, Luscombe began skiing on Mount Washington at age six and has competed in world para ski championships in 2013, 2015, 2017 with three top-10 finishes and a bronze medal from earlier this year in the 2018 World Cup downhill final.

Luscombe will be cheered on in Pyeongchang by his mom and dad, Scott, and Charmaine Luscombe and girlfriend Dariel Grooms.

Source Times Colonist

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