By Lan KB
Mark Ormrod does not give up easily. And he is not one who agrees to be wheelchair-bound for life.
The former Royal Marine commando became the first triple amputee to survive Afghanistan, after stepping on an improvised explosive device during a routine patrol on Christmas Eve 2007.
He was told he was unlikely to walk again, that he was in a wheelchair for life.
“That kind of hit me hard,” he says in a recent BBC video. So he decided he was going to change his life!
The 34-year-old father-of-three decided to use his injury as a “springboard for growth and reinvention”.
Today, he is a star of the Invictus Games. And he is using the social media to inspire others.
First, the Invictus Games in Sydney
Last week, Mark won two gold medals and a silver in the pool at the Invictus Games, including by winning the 50-metre breaststroke in his first time in that race.
It was a quick learning curve for him as he took part in the race after learning an adapted version of the swimming style just 45 minutes before the race.
“I only entered it because there was only one entrant, so I wanted to give the crowd a race,” he said.
“I had a quick little go just now in the warm-up pool and I think I figured it out.” Ormrod beat former Australian sniper team commander Garry Robinson by just 29 milliseconds in the race, which had the crowd on its feet, say local Aussie reports.
Not bad for someone who thought he would not swim again after his injuries.
This is why:
“Never in a million years did I think I’d be here. The first time I went in a swimming pool post my injury, I nearly drowned and I was a pretty strong swimmer before (Afghanistan).
That incident kept me out of the water for five years.”
And then he took to the pool at the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto after he figured out “how to go in a straight line”.
“It was a complete experiment – I had to adapt (swimming) to my injuries and figure out what to do with my right arm, what body position to have, how many breaths to take.”
Now Mark is using social media to inspire others.
“I slowly started expanding my online footprint into a professional page, a Twitter account, Instagram…
“I have just started podcasting, I don’t really know what I am doing but I am just having a go and figuring it out as I go.
“This is really a cool way to reach people. And it added a lot of value to my journey.”
In his words:
“All I am doing is living. Like everyone else does.
“I have just got a few challenges more than your average person, but I am just living, really.”
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