Inspire RISINGABOVE TIGHT

Chris Bond's Paralympic Journey

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As the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games approach, we are inspired by the stories of athletes who have overcome incredible odds to represent Australia on the world stage. Chris Bond, captain of the Steelers Wheelchair Rugby team, shares his journey from an able-bodied Australian to a Paralympic champion. His story is a testament to the unifying and inspiring power of sport.

Growing Up in a Sporting Nation

Chris describes growing up in the 90s in Australia, a sporting nation.

“In my able-bodied youth, my twin brother and I played everything from indoor-soccer and four-square handball to footy to get us through the school day. After the bell we would build jumps and ride our bikes until the streetlights went on. On the weekends it was all about rugby league. We idolised our national teams, gathering around our small box TV with pride as we felt connected to fellow Australians battling it out in their green and gold. Sport was a major part of our lives, keeping us fit, socially connected, and giving us a strong sense of belonging and community."

A Life-changing Diagnosis

Chris’ life took an unexpected turn when he was diagnosed with cancer. Subsequent infections led to the amputation of both legs, his left hand, and all but one finger on his right hand at the age of 19.

"After three years in the hospital system fighting for my life and regaining my independence with my newly acquired disability, I knew that something was missing – my passion for sport. And from there, my eyes were opened to a world of Para-Sport."

Finding Purpose in Wheelchair Rugby

Joining a new community of like-minded people, who had similar life journeys and a shared desire to compete, was the vehicle that drove Chris back to motivation.

"Wheelchair Rugby was the best form of rehab, fitness and therapy for me. It taught me to be grateful for the function I have remaining and gave me hope for the future. It pushed me to do more for myself in everyday life and provided real-world examples of others with severe disabilities achieving what seemed like unattainable milestones."

Determined to pursue his passion, Chris moved from Canberra to Brisbane to start his Paralympic pathway. "I dropped everything I was doing and hit the road with my black lab, at the beginning of a journey that gave me a strong purpose in my new world and reignited my childhood dream."

Becoming a Paralympic Champion

Fast forward over a decade, and Chris Bond is now captain of the Steelers, a two-time Paralympic gold medallist, two-time world champion, father of two, and homeowner living independently on the Sunshine Coast.

"The Paralympic movement has grown tremendously, and we now have the opportunity to consume increasingly impressive Para-sport on free-to-air TV every four years. Australians are now realising that sport is sport, and they love to back the green and gold, regardless of the event. We love a good story of our fellow Aussies having a crack, it’s what unites us."

Uniting through Sport

Chris highlights the growing recognition and inspiration drawn from Paralympic athletes.

"Australians are beginning to get to know our Paralympic athletes and feel inspired by their unique stories in their quest to reach the pinnacle of sport. Nothing has been given, it has all been earned, and that resonates well with the average Australian battler."

Impact on Future Generations

Reflecting on the impact of the Games, Chris says

"I have heard countless stories of kids wanting to be like the Steelers after watching us play - dreaming of one day wearing the green and gold.

Life is full of unexpected challenges. We can’t predict what will happen, how long we’ll live, or what illnesses or injuries might come our way. But seeing a fellow Australian survive a near-death experience, lose their physical abilities, and still smile with determination and purpose is a powerful reminder of the incredible resilience of the human spirit. It shows that no matter the setbacks, we can reset our mindset, set new goals, and achieve our dreams. Life is short, so why wait? Start chasing your dreams now."

Golden opportunity: Creating a lasting legacy

The Paris Games are an opportunity for brands to align with the values of resilience, unity, and inspiration, embodied by our Paralympic athletes. We have never had more access, exposure and connection to the hundreds of individual stories, characters and proud Australian athletes who drive the core message of living a healthier, active and more purposeful life. And the momentum of the Games is set to continue as Australia continues to back ALL athletes, the power of mateship, community and a fair go for all.

Stay tuned for more insights and stories from the Games as we continue our conversation with those closest to the magic.

Looking to put your brand at the heart of the Olympic and Paralympic Games on Nine? We'd love to hear from you.

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