The Day Kochie Convinced a Future Paralympic Star to Meet His Hero and Do the Balmoral Burn

The Day Kochie Convinced a Future Paralympic Star to Meet His Hero and Do the Balmoral Burn

“We got him interested in wheelchair racing,” Koch said. “Kurt put a lot of time into him and he has blossomed.”

Rheed McCracken (center) with Kurt Fearnley and David Koch at the Balmoral Burn event in 2010. Credit:David Kocho

McCracken said, “He’s a great friend and someone I think I can call if I need to.”

In a heat of 33 degrees on Monday morning, McCracken recovered from a slow start to finish in second place in 15.37 seconds, just 0.36 seconds behind Tunisian Walid Ktila in first place.

“I sweated out my ringtone to say it as politely as possible. I’ve never been this hot in my life,” McCracken said. “I’ve never pumped sweat out of my helmet before a race.

“I think we executed it as well as we could have done.”

With five medals but no gold to his name, McCracken feels a sense of frustration. His favorite motto, according to the Paralympics Australia website, belongs to Ricky Bobby in Talladega nights: “If you’re not the first, you’re the last.”

“I am very pleased to have been able to maintain a spot on the podium and win three silver medals in the last three Games,” said McCracken. “There’s a bit of frustration that we can’t make that leap to gold, but it is what it is.”

Off the track, McCracken doesn’t shy away from the camera, having signed a deal with global company IMG Models

He regularly appears at fashion shows, appears on the cover of magazines and breaks the stigma associated with models with disabilities.

McCracken, who barely has room on his body for more tattoos even if he wanted them, has worked with American clothing brand Tommy Hilfiger and many more.

“I just love it as an opportunity to expand a little bit and do something a little bit different,” McCracken said. “I had the opportunity to go to New York and make a magazine cover there. From there, IMG signed me up. I think those things are just really good to get your head out of it, as these Games were very stressful. ”

Koch chuckles when the burgeoning modeling career comes up.

“Kurt and I sometimes clip his ears so he doesn’t get too big-headed,” Koch said. “I know Brad, his father, does too. He handles it so well. He never has a big head. He is a great brand for anyone to adopt.

Rheed McCracken with David Koch.

Rheed McCracken with David Koch. Credit:David Kocho

“What I love most is that while I’m happy that he’s started racing at the Paralympic Games, it’s great to see him develop into an incredible young Australian. From saying no boo, to someone who spoke at the age of 15 in primary schools about how to deal with disabilities. . . it’s just fantastic. He’s a great young guy. I just love him.

“I just want him to keep going. I can’t believe he’s only 24.

McCracken has another 800m race on Friday where he will be chasing that elusive gold medal. He admits that his focus was on the 100 meters.

“When I first entered London [2012], I was pretty raw and didn’t let it soak in enough,” McCracken said. “I probably kind of took it for granted. Then Rio came and I was a bit of a nervous wreck to be honest. Today was the most nervous I’ve had. I’ve ever been to a race purely because I hadn’t raced in so long.

“It’s about not taking it to heart. Be proud of the achievements and don’t beat yourself up about it.”

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