Jamie Johnstone: ‘the wonders of human triumph’

Jamie Johnstone interviewing cyclist Tristen Chernove in Rio
To Jamie Johnstone, cyclist Tristen Chernove, with his arm in a sling, is a true Canadian hero.

The first time I met Tristen Chernove was a few moments after the biggest race of his life, and he had just won his first ever Paralympic gold medal.

As I introduced myself, I could see a twinkle in the cyclist’s eyes; he was clearly pleased with his result, but humble in his actions.

It turned out that I grabbed him before the CBC. My mistake. His media attaché quickly reminded us that he had to do his national television duties first.

He looked at me and said ‘don’t worry Jamie, I got you after’.

After 20 minutes of being interviewed by the CBC, Tristen strolled over with a smile on his face.

I wanted to find out how he was able to balance being president of Elevate Airports in Cranbrook, B.C. with training for the Paralympics, and being a father of two.

Tristen is a truly inspirational person, one of a kind.

He credited everyone but himself, saying he owes the world to his loved ones and his support network in Canada.

Talking with Tristen changed my view on life.

I thought I was busy, managing my own small company while completing a grad course in sports journalism. Nothing in comparison.

This amazing man – who broke his back in a bus crash in Mexico in 2001 and is dealing with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (a degenerative disease which causes muscle atrophy) – oozes positivity.

Thank you Tristen Chernove, for opening my eyes to the wonders of human triumph.

From now on, when I am feeling low or frustrated, I will remember Tristen and how he fights through adversity and keeps positive no matter what life throws at him.