Former Juneau resident Seth McBride, a 2001 Juneau-Douglas High School graduate, is off to a great start at the 2012 London Paralympic games.
Team USA, playing in Group A, defeated host nation Great Britain on Wednesday in a preliminary round game 56-44.
McBride and Team USA are the defending Gold Medal champs from the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing, China and are looking like the choice to repeat, although strong competition is expected from Australia, Britain and Canada.
Britain led the title holders 13-11 after a fierce opening quarter. The USA was kept in check until the second quarter saw them outscore their opponents by seven goals. Chuck Aoki led USA with 14 goals. In other Group A games Japan beat France 65-56 with Daisuke Ikezaki scoring 24 points. The USA and Japan play today and Great Britain will play France. The USA will play France on Friday. Semifinals are Saturday and the Gold and Bronze medal games are on Sunday.
The Australians, silver medalists from Beijing, put an impressive 64-52 Group B win up over Canada on Wednesday behind star player Ryley Batt’s 37 goals. In other group B action Sweden stopped Belgium 52-42. Sweden plays Australia today and Canada faces Belgium.
McBride has won gold medals as a part of the United States in the World Wheelchair Rugby Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand in 2006; represented the U.S. in championships in the 2006 Canada Cup and North American Cup; and won gold at the 2005 World Peace gamein Rio de Janeiro, Brazil as a member of the USA Stripes developmental quad rugby team.
McBride also obliterated the local Frank Maier Marathon wheelchair record in 2007 with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 21 seconds. He also holds the Douglas Island Half-Marathon wheelchair record with a 1:37:22.
McBride was paralyzed in a skiing accident on July 17, 2000, at Whistler/Blackcomb ski area in British Columbia. The accident broke several vertebrae in his neck. At that time McBride was a competitive skier with the Juneau Ski Club and had become an accomplished extreme and freestyle skier. He was free skiing at Whistler, the site of the 2001 World Freestyle Ski Championships when he was injured.
McBride returned to JDHS three months after the accident and graduated with his class. He has since graduated from the University of Oregon. It was at Oregon in 2003 that McBride found the Portland Pounders “murder ball” team and began playing wheelchair or quad rugby as another way to stay active.
McBride is the second Juneau athlete to compete in the Paralympics. Mono-skier Joe Tompkins represented the U.S. in the 2002 Winter Paralympic games in Salt Lake City, 2006 winter games in Torino, Italy, and 2010 winter games in Vancouver. Tompkins is a member of the USA National Alpine/Paralympic Ski Team.