As Red Deer’s Dylan Deuchar whips around the Setters Place oval, a simple woosh hits you as he passes by.
You can see it on his face, the joy of it all.
Although initially drawn to hockey, for almost 16 years, Deuchar, 25, has craved the competition and the speed – the feeling of being in control out on the speed skating oval.
After all, it’s what he’s been chasing since the day he was born.
Deuchar was diagnosed with Floating-Harbour Syndrome, a rare disorder that is characterized by short stature, delayed bone age and delayed speech development. He was feed with tubes up until he was eight and it’s a minor miracle that he has succeeded as he has.
Later this month, Deuchar will strap on his long track speed skates for the third time at Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Thunder Bay, Ont., on the hunt for more medals.
Is he nervous? Not a chance.
“ Noooo,” said Deuchar confidently.
“I want to get it done and over with.”
In 2008, Deuchar won gold, silver and bronze at the Games in Quebec City and added to that total with two golds and a silver in St. Albert in 2012. This year, he’s been training as hard as ever to add to his medal total.
As for his plan in Thunder Bay? Deuchar will turn on Nickleback’s Burn it Down, get focused and do what he does best.
“Just skating hard,” he said.
He practices twice a week, once in Calgary and the other in Red Deer, with coach Shawna Pearman. She said he always brings a positive attitude and loves to put in the effort to get better.
“He’s a hard worker. He likes to talk lots and he likes to have a good time on the ice. He’s committed this year to going and working hard so that’s been a good thing,” said Pearman, who has coached Duechar the last four years.
His other coach also happens to be one of his speed skating idols. Pearman’s daughter Maddison, who skates with Canada’s national team in Calgary, helps coach Dylan as part of the Special Olympics Alberta. Shawna said they’ve got a special connection.
“For him, he’s known her in our club and he really looks up to her. He works extra hard for her so that’s a good thing. It’s great for him to see other coaches and have some role models,” Shawna added.
The Special Olympics Canada Winter Games take place Feb. 25-29.