Posted on March 30, 2010 at 6:38 PM
Taylor Lipsett works for Bank of America in downtown Dallas, he recently enjoyed a trip of a lifetime.
While he loves his job, it doesn't compare to his real passion. Lipsett is a sledge hockey player and helped the US Paralympic team win a gold medal in Vancouver.
"Anybody that has ever seen it and been introduced to it, loves it," Lipsett says.
It's ice hockey on a sled. Players ride on small sleds with two blades. Those blades vary in separation underneath the sled, depending on the individual’s preference.
Players use two sticks instead of one and use those sticks to propel themselves around the ice. Bringing back the goal was an experience of a lifetime.
"It was just amazing to get to celebrate that victory with them and knowing we're all part of a group that," Lipsett says. "We went 19-and-0 in goal differential. We didn't give up one goal the whole tournament. So it's a record that can't be broken."
The sport was developed in the 1960's at a rehabilitation center in Sweden and has been in the United States for only two decades.
His gold medal looks similar to what athletes received at the Vancouver winter games. "The only difference is theirs was a little more round. Ours is a little squarer. The weight is the same, the gold is the same, and the design is the same," he says.
Lipsett has suffered from osteogensis imperfecta since childhood, a genetic disorder characterized by bones that break easily. He started playing the game after a chance meeting in a grocery store with the mother-in-law of a member from the 2002 team which also won gold.
"It was the first time she had ever been in that grocery store. It's the last time she's ever been in that grocery story, she doesn't live anywhere close to the grocery store, but that day, it's like it was meant to be," Lipsett says.
Lipsett scored the final goal in a 2-to-0 shutout against Japan, clinching the gold medal for his team.
"It was just amazing thinking that I’m a Paralympic gold medalist for the rest of my life," he says. All the hard work paid off and it was neat to experience that with everyone."
Paralympians live in the same Olympic village that athletes of the Vancouver Olympic Games occupied. They even get to play their games in the same venues. The Paralympics usually start two weeks after the Olympic Games leave town.
Lipsett says he plans to be in Russia when the Paralympics are held in 2014.