Tristen Chernove rips down the road during the men's c2 paracylcing time trial in Pontal, Rio. Photo  by Jamie Johnstone/ Toronto Observer

Airport CEO flying high at first Paralympic Games

Canadian paracyclist Tristen Chernove wins gold on Rio roads to complement silver and bronze on the track

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – Tristen Chernove makes his living off the air but, in Rio, he’s making his name on the road and track.

The airport executive from Cranbrook, B.C., won gold in the men’s paracycling time trial at the scenic seaside course Wednesday, completing his Paralympic rainbow that includes silver and bronze on the track earlier in the Paralympic Games.

Chernove was quick to credit his support systems – his family at home and his team at Elevate Airports Inc. where he is CEO – for helping him manage the stress that comes from being a father, manager and world class athlete.

“I reach out to great people to help me out,” Chernove said. “Building myself a safe bubble and trying to think of all the positives.

“I try to just think about my children, my wife and the big picture of happiness.”

The 41-year-old father of two daughters – Bronwyn, 9, and Morgan, 6 – said  said there is no pressure on his daughters to follow dad’s path.

“As long as we are hopping on bikes together and having fun as a family, that’s all I want,” Chernove said.

“If they pursue competitive sport, I will support them to do that and if they want to use it as glorious transportation, then that’s great, too.”

The first-time Paralympic cyclist said his airport staff ensured he was able to balance his intense training schedule with his business duties.

“I managed it by having the best staff and colleagues that anyone could ever dream of,” Chernove said, moments after the competition. “They have done a tremendous job ensuring that I don’t have to worry about things.

“Everything is in great hands and the city of Cranbrook has done a great job, making sure that I can come and do this.”

Chernove said he was in full control his nerves, something that was vital to his performance.

“I enjoyed the whole race” Chernove said.

“That was a big part of what I wanted to ensure, you only get these moments so often in life and I really wanted to have a positive outlook today and just be in the moment, taking it all in.”

Chernove said he did his best to forget about the scale of the Paralympics by living in the moment.

“I was just going out to have a great bike ride, in a beautiful place and push my hardest,” Chernove said.

“I tried not to let the anxiety or pressures get to me and that really happened today, I have been calm ever since yesterday and that made all the difference.”

Twitter: @JamieJohnstone8