31 August 2012
Kieran Modra regards his fifth Paralympic Gold medal as nothing short of a miracle.
In December last year while recovering from horrific injuries including two broken vertebrae in his back and another in his lower spine, sustained after a collision with a car, Modra believed the opportunity to attend his seventh Paralympic Games were over.
"Lying in a hospital bed with a neck brace on and the doctors saying you can't move for a week meant any thoughts of London went straight out of the window," he said.
However Modra said with the support of the South Australian Sports Insitute and pilot Scott McPhee, he regained the fitness and form to not only make it to London but with McPhee by his side shave 24 thousandths of a second off their own world record.
"SASI put me back together bit by bit and monitored to make sure I didn't push myself too hard," he said. "Scott has been able to bring the best out of me. We have become a closer knit unit since the accident."
"He has really supported my progress and supported me through the rehabilitation stage," he said. "Anyone else might not have been able to do it but Scott has done a really good job."
McPhee concurred with Modra's assessment that the accident brought the duo closer together.
"We've been together for 18 months but we had a four month separation when 'Mods' was in hospital," said McPhee. "He looks indestructable but he isn't really.
"That accident made us work really hard and with each other as a team for the past eight months."
Modra says teaming up with McPhee, who is half his age was a challenge for him.
"I would never have conceived I would have been able to do it (another Paralympic campaign) again, but you take it one day at a time and try and reinvent yourself," he said. "I think it's the challenge and enthusiasm he (McPhee) bring to the bike that gets me revved up to think maybe we can do this. He's been a great inspiration for me."
Having had a dream start to their London Paralympic campaign, Modra and McPhee's transition to road events hasn't been as smooth with mechanical issues preventing them from finishing in the Men's Individal Time Trial on Wednesday. Their London Paralympic campaign continues on Saturday (8 September) with the Men's Individual Road Race.
Modra believes that London will be his final Paralympic Games.
"I don't think Scott could handle me any longer," Modra laughed. "Team dynamics have gone through a lot of trauma in the last 18 months. It's quite a feat."