Norfolk veteran Steve has his sights set on a place at Winter Games
- Credit: Archant
A wounded war veteran from Norfolk is on a journey to compete on the greatest sporting stage – next year's Winter Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang.
Steve Arnold, a former staff sergeant who was born in King's Lynn, plus two other hopefuls, is being supported by Help for Heroes on their path to Pyeongchang. Sgt Arnold is currently competing at a World Cup event in Canada in a bid to qualify as a Para-Nordic skier for Team GB at next year's Winter Paralympic Games.
He served in the Army for 16 years completing tours in Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan, but his life was turned upside down in April 2011 in Afghanistan when he stood on an IED and lost both legs above the knee.
Steve found solace and inspiration from being at Headley Court rehab centre, where he was introduced to hand cycling and Help for Heroes. In 2012, just a year after his injury, he completed the Race Across America with the charity.
'Cycling got me out of my hospital bed and it gave me the freedom and adrenalin I'd been missing,' he said. 'I'd never cycled even when I still had my legs – it was exciting and a new sport. Through Help for Heroes I was also introduced to Nordic skiing in January 2017 and I loved it straight away. It felt like another new beginning and I was extremely grateful.'
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Despite doing the sport for less than a year Sgt Arnold is on the path to Pyeongchang.
'Looking at the bigger picture the big aim is to get to the Paralympic Games in March but I'm fully focused on Canada,' he said. 'The journey I've had from just missing out on the cycling and coming into this sport less than 12 months ago, to hit the standard and go, would be an incredible feeling. The real inspiration for me is being the best I can be. I want to show my family that although I was badly injured, I am still the same Steve that I always was.'
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He is also determined to create a lasting impact by inspiring others to try Nordic skiing.
'We don't want to go to the Paralympic Games and it end again for another 20 years. We want to create a legacy and move this sport on and inspire others to take this up,' he said.