Following on from his first book One Foot On The Podium where Don has finally reached a long held dream, a goal, to compete at the Sydney Paralympic Games in 2000 winning a Bronze medal for Pentathlon. His journey was long, hard, challenging and emotional, but to finally achieve what he set out to do with his family watching, cheering him on was the ultimate sensation; it was the absolute moment when everything he and his team had worked for finally came together.
But what comes next for an élite athlete once the fanfare dies down, the rest and relaxation is over and real life, once again, is there to be resumed: as he discovered to his immense horror, a strong relationship with Post Games Blues came next. All of a sudden the urge to compete was not the same, the workload of intense training had slowed to a normal everyday pace, and life was one well provisioned function after another. Drifting along was the option of the moment followed by serious weight gain.
A time trial at the Sandringham Athletics Track saw him in despair as he realised he had lost his competitive edge, his fitness and that in this state, competition, serious competition, was not an option. On the brink of debilitating despair his friend, mentor and Coach Roy Boyd stopped off for a chat.
The results of that chat saw him begin to believe that he could, if he worked hard, rose to the challenge and set goals, see him seriously compete at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens. After all there was three and a half years left to get to peak condition.
And so begins the next years in the Elgin family, as not only did he have to work hard as an élite athlete he also had to support his young and growing family, but how best to do this was the next challenge to be undertaken.
A series of events saw him continuing on the speaker’s circuit along with invitations to present as a motivational speaker to sporting groups, clubs and businesses. Some paid well, some came with additional benefits but were still not consistent enough to leave his employment with Australia Post; a company that had not only sponsored him as an athlete but also provided him with work for many years.
A meeting with a young amputee who was determined to succeed at sport was the first step on the journey to mentoring other athletes, moving into becoming team manager for disabled elite athletes travelling away overseas to the Commonwealth Games in London and beginning to realise that there was a new pathway opening up; one where he could use his skills, his experience, his natural ability to enjoy life, and his love of motivational speaking, which as the years have moved along, has bought him much joy, happiness, many new challenges and fun.
His last challenge, walking the Kokoda Trail in New Guinea was a real learning curve in more ways that he expected, proving to be one off the greatest challenges, both emotionally and physically, that he had ever faced.
Inspiring, entertaining, absolutely totally enjoyable, by the end of this chapter in Don Elgin’s life we renewed our friendship with the Elgin family, laughed, cried and empathised with Don as he has once again hurtled towards and through life’s challenges, coming out at the other end feeling so much better for the experience.
|Author||Don Elgin with Kevin Moloney|