Thursday, 28th February 2019
By Chris Welner
Nova Scotia snowboard cross racer Liam Gamble was driven to compete at the Canada Games — literally.
Gamble, 19, of Darmouth, N.S., suffered a spontaneous collapse of his left lung less than two weeks before he was due to race at the Canada Games. Doctors told him he would not be able to fly for six weeks, so alternate transportation arrangements had to be made.
Enter Uncle Jonathon Calnen and his Subaru Imprezza. Four days before he was due to arrive in Red Deer, Liam and Uncle Jon left Dartmouth heading west. Five days and 5,200 km later they arrived at the Athletes’ Village, about an hour after the other Nova Scotia participants checked in.
“It was so crazy for this to happen to someone who is a fairly high level athlete,” said Gamble in a phone interview from Northern Ontario as he drove back home.
“At first it sounded like I wouldn’t be able to make Canada Games.”
Tired, nursing four sets of stitches, and with impaired mobility and lung function, Gamble jumped onto the Canyon Ski Resort course for training Sunday and racing Monday. He laid down a good qualifying time to get seeded seventh for the knock out rounds. After advancing through Round 1, he crashed in his second heat, ending his competition. By Tuesday at noon, Liam and Uncle Jon were on the road home.
“It was something I’d been working toward for a long time, since I was 15. To be able to be there and experience the Games even for the three days was everything I hoped it would be. It was amazing,” he says. “To be able to represent our province in a competition like this means the world.”