Canadian Paralympic alpine skier Brian Rowland’s confidence is through the roof after his first Paralympic experience.
The 36-year-old began sit skiing just five years ago, and feels he can compete with the best of the best.
“This just being my first year on the World Cup circuit, I can already see where I stack up amongst the best,” he said, last week on a video call. “Once I clear up a few mistakes, I think that I can be up there with the top guys in the world.”
Rowland finished ninth in the Super G at the World Cup in 2021. He followed that up with a 10th and 12th place finish in the Super G and Giant Slalom, respectively, in Beijing.
The Merrickville, Ont., native’s journey began in 2015 after he suffered a severe spinal cord injury in a motorcycle accident. It was not long after that Rowland began skiing and his coach started to notice a bright future for the athlete.
“My coach saw a lot of potential in me, and I joined Team Ontario within the first two weeks of skiing in the winter of 2017,” Rowland said.
His activity and drive to compete with the best in the world, helped him improve his confidence heading into the 2021-22 season.
“Once you do a couple of races and get more familiar with the courses, you start to build confidence.”
As his career-year progressed, Rowland got the opportunity to compete in the 2022 Paralympic Games in Beijing.
Known as Flying Brian, he reflected on the journey after a first Paralympic experience.
“Looking back, it all happened so quickly. Learning how to ski five years ago and being on top of the world against the highest, most elite athletes in our sport. It’s honestly just surreal.”
The Canadian skier learned a lot from his first experience, and now has his eyes set on competing in Italy.
“Moving on to the next quadrant, it would be the Milan Paralympic Games. If all goes well, it would be really cool to get another opportunity.”