Brendan Green has solidified his special place as the greatest athlete ever to originate in Hay River.

As everyone probably knows by now, Green was selected on Jan. 16 to be a member of Canada’s biathlon team heading to next month’s Olympic Winter Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea.

That fact alone would be enough to be the highlight of many athletes’ careers. Being chosen for the Olympic Games is basically being recognized as among the very best in the world.

However, this will be Green’s third appearance at the Olympic Games following Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi, Russia, in 2014.

That means Green has been among the elite of his sport for at least eight years.

That is extremely impressive anyway you want to look at it.

It becomes even more impressive when you recall that Green had to recover from two spinal surgeries to compete in Sochi, where he finished a Canadian best-ever ninth place in the 15-km mass start.

Aside from the Olympics, he also helped make Canadian biathlon history in 2016 as part of the 4×7.5-km relay team which captured bronze at the world championships. It was Canada’s first-ever relay medal at the world championships.

Green has very simply done Hay River, the NWT and Canada proud.

It is not every day that an athlete begins a sport in the NWT and rises in to the level of the Olympic Games. It happens occasionally – as with the Firth sisters from years past – but it is extremely rare and requires a special kind of athlete and person.

And like the Firth sisters, Green has never forgotten his roots.

Members of the media covering biathlon in Europe – where it is a much bigger sport than in North America – are fascinated with his story of coming from a small town in Northern Canada.

In a lot of ways, Green has literally put Hay River on the map in many countries in Europe.

The biathlete has also been a model of hard work, dedication and persistence in his sport.

That is a lesson that everybody can learn from, no matter what they are doing with their lives. It’s simply to give it your all, and good things can happen.

That can be an inspiration for both athletes and non-athletes.

No one is saying that if you work hard in your field and are very dedicated you will make the Olympic Games, or win an Academy Award or receive a Nobel Prize. There are many other factors – sometimes completely random and unexpected – that determine someone’s success in life.

However, it is pretty obvious that if you don’t work hard and are not dedicated you will not make the Olympic Games, not win an Academy Award or not receive a Nobel Prize.

Of course, we will be closely watching next month as Brendan Green competes at the Winter Olympics, and we wish him all the best, as does everyone in Hay River.

Where he places is almost irrelevant.

Brendan Green has proven again and again that he has the heart of a champion.

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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