Although legends may be remembered for eternity, the actual individuals do not possess the same immortality. Each person on this planet has a finite amount of time to spend. It does not matter if one’s time here is short or long, it is crucial to make the most of this time and discover one’s purpose. Two notable examples of individuals who achieved this but have passed away are Kevin Coombs and Tracey Freeman, legendary Paralympians from Australia.
Coombs was the first Indigenous athlete to represent Australia in an Olympics or Paralympics. He passed away on Thursday, surrounded by his loved ones. Meanwhile, Freeman, a member of the Australian Paralympic Hall of Fame, passed away a little before Coombs.
Symbols Used in the Paralympic Games
Both Coombs and Freeman were honored at the Paralympic Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Tracy was the first female Australian athlete to achieve a gold medal, setting the precedent for future athletes such as Louise Sauvage and Madison de Rozario. She will forever be recognized for her influence on the sport. Coombs’ contributions, both on and off the field, solidify his place in Australian sports history. He will always be respected for his impact. In summary, Kevin was a pioneer who will continue to motivate future generations. He truly embodied the essence of the Paralympic movement.
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Coombs was a member of the Australian team in the first-ever Paralympics and continued to participate for four more. He competed in Rome in 1960 and then in Tel Aviv in 1968, Heidelberg in 1972, Arnhem in 1980, and New York/Stoke Mandeville in 1984. He also served as captain for the men’s wheelchair basketball teams in 1972 and 1984 and was the overall captain for the Australian Paralympic team in 1980. In recognition of his successful career, Coombs was given the honor of carrying the Paralympic torch in 2000.
Freeman competed in two Paralympic events, in Heidelberg 1972 and Toronto 1976, and earned six gold medals during this time. She is currently the 12th most decorated Australian Paralympic gold medalist. Freeman set world records in the discus, javelin, shot put, and 60m wheelchair sprint. In 1983, Coombs received the Medal of the Order of Australia. He was also awarded the Australian Sports Medal in 2000 and was inducted into the Basketball Australia Hall of Fame in 2007.
Both of these competitors have made significant contributions to the sport. We have been extremely fortunate to witness their skills on a large platform. Although they may have passed away, their impact will never be forgotten. Their legacies will continue to be remembered, whether it be through the individuals they influenced or in the records of the sport.
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Australia is grieving the loss of two Paralympic legends who passed away in quick succession. This news was reported by EssentiallySports.