Injured veteran selected to represent ParalympicsGB at Beijing 2022
Owen Pick has been named in Great Britain’s Snowboarding team heading to Beijing today by the British Paralympics Association (BPA).
Owen will represent his country once more in Snowboard cross and Banked Slalom, thanks to support from Blesma.
The 30-year-old took his very first step on a snowboard during a Blesma trip to Colorado ten years ago. Now he is going for Paralympic glory.
He came to the charity after he was injured by an IED in Afghanistan whilst serving in the Royal Anglian Regiment at just 18.
He said: “I was three months into my first tour of Afghanistan when I got blown up. We’d been under fire all day and got the order to assault a compound. I stood on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). I didn’t know anything about it, all I remember is a big white flash, but I was apparently blown about 10 feet in the air.
“I battled for 18 months to keep my leg, but in the end, nothing was working. The surgeons gave me the choice: take it off or keep having numerous operations in the hope it might get better. In August 2011 I eventually decided to amputate my leg below the knee. I felt relieved once I’d made the decision, and since then I’ve not looked back.”
“Blesma have supported me from that very first step on a snowboard to every step that followed over the next ten years.”
Since his first snowboarding trip, Owen has come a long way from his goal of completing a snowboard instructor's course and has competed all over the globe, winning Dew Tour and the banked slalom world championships with the Crystal Globe in 2020.
In 2018, Owen became part of the first British para snowboarding team to compete at a Paralympic Games and was also honoured with flag-bearing duties at the opening ceremony for the British team. However, to his disappointment, he placed ninth in banked slalom and ninth in boardercross.
“I came away from the 2018 Paralympics winter Games really bummed out, but over the last four years, we've been working on my confidence to make my mental game stronger during competitions."
Now he is set to compete in his second Winter Paralympic Games. An opportunity that may not have been possible without the support of Blesma.
“If I didn’t have the Blesma funding not only would I not have the right snowboards, but I probably wouldn't still be snowboarding. There have been seasons where Blesma pretty much-funded everything."
“Without the funding, I wouldn’t be able to afford the season, which means I may have only got to a few competitions but not all of them. I wouldn’t have been able to get the points to be able to get to the Games.”
“Going into the Beijing Games, I definitely feel calmer. I’m not as nervous, because I’ve experienced the Games before and I’ve felt what it’s like to not do as well as what I want to do. So, this time I think my aim is to enjoy it. Nine times out of ten if I’m enjoying myself, the results show for that. Hopefully, it works this time.”
Owen will be competing in the men’s SB-LL2 category in Boardercross on 6/7 March and Banked Slalom on 12 March at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympic Games, which start on Friday 4 March.