Global’s Mitch Rosset explains how Special Olympian Darren Boryskavich has captured Russell’s heart.
RUSSELL, MB – When you’ve won more than 55 medals, it’s hard to pick a favourite.
But it’s even harder to remember what produced the prize.
“That was for track and field right,” Tina Boryskavich asks her son Darren while digging through his medals in their hometown of Russell.
“Nope,” Darren quickly replies. “From the winter games.”
Darren is one of the province’s top Special Olympians. He’s medaled in five different sports during his three decade long career. One that has never included a World Winter Games – until this month.
The 41-year-old was one of seven Manitobans who proudly represented Canada in Austria at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games. The trip was a huge success for Darren as he brought home a gold and two bronze medals. But getting there meant he had to take up a brand new sport.
Darren entered his first snowshoe race just five years ago. With hard work, he trains five days a week, Darren qualified for the games.
“A lot of times, children with disabilities are not given the opportunity,” Tina said. “We’ve been so blessed here. When he was first born, you just never know what dreams or hopes they can accomplish.”
A proud mom who wasn’t the only person cheering for Darren.
“He would be in town and people would wish him good luck or tell him they will be rooting for him,” Tina said.
Darren’s drive to be the best didn’t just earn him a spot in the community’s heart but also its sign. Russell recently added the athlete’s picture to a welcome billboard which sits on the main road into town. Darren’s name sits next to the community’s other Olympic heroes – Theo Fleury and Jon Montgomery.
“There is no face for athleticism,” Montgomery said. “Russell is valuing what sports is all about which is inclusion and representing yourself to the best of your ability to a true and honest fashion.”
The movement to add Darren to the sign was spearheaded by a local high school student. In no time, he collected enough signatures to complete his petition.
“As a parent, I can’t even begin to describe how it makes me feel to know he’s accepted like one of the others,” Tina said.
A sign of inclusion that has made a mark just like the one Darren created in the community.