Olympic medalist Evan Austin comes to BC


Madeline Ruebush

Evan Austin discusses his journey to becoming a gold medalist.

Madeline Ruebush, Reporter

The first Distinguished Speaker event of the spring semester, hosted by BC’s Office of Student Life took place on Jan. 19 where paralympic gold and bronze medalist speaker, Evan Austin spoke about his disability and how he was able to “get back up” and become the accomplished swimmer he is today.
Austin’s number one message to the crowd was to “get back up” just as he had to. According to him, Austin was diagnosed with spastic paraplegia, a neurological and genetic disorder affecting his legs, at age 3. He spoke of how, at such a young age, he had to learn the lesson that “getting back up” was not a measure of motivation, but of discipline saying, “You have to get up, both metaphorically and physically.”
He also spoke of his able-bodied brother, Adam. He explained that both he and his brother were “born with a competitive spirit,” but Adam was able to be good at everything Austin could not do. Austin expressed how much this irked him as a kid, that his brother was able to be good at all the things he wished he could be good at. At 10 though, Austin revealed, that he found the one thing his brother was not good at; swimming. He had found his passion he explained saying it was, “the first environment I ever felt safe.” And he noted that he had decided that swimming would become his whole life.
Austin went on to describe how he started trying out for the US team in high school. The first time he tried out, he explained, he did not make it. He said that he never wanted to feel that way again, like a failure. He finally revealed that in 2012, his senior year, he made the team and later noted that “failure is fuel – it is like gold.” He said that he would go on to compete in the paralympic and eventually he won both a gold and bronze medal. He said that “comfort is the enemy of success,” and that is how he is where he is today.

Austin now is a coach and a philanthropist as well as an accomplished athlete. He wants people to understand that his success came from perseverance and those that surrounded him. He ended the talk by letting everyone know that they could also achieve success, just as he did.

Evan Austin speaks about how failure is gold.
Evan Austin speaks about how failure is gold. (Madeline Ruebush)