Pat the Paralympian – Meet Newcastle’s Paralympic Hope
Newcastle has always been a rich sporting city, many of our locals have become professionals in their field. Patrick Alderton speaks to two-time Paralympian Patrick Jensen about his appearance at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games.
It’s a sunny Saturday afternoon and a group of fun-loving larrakins have left the beach to head out to a gig in town. You’d picture this scenario and see nothing out of the ordinary, a pretty run of the mill occurrence for a Saturday in the Steel City.
What you don’t know is that one of those young men is Patrick Jensen, Newcastle’s two-time Paralympian enjoying downtime with his mates in the offseason. Patrick and his friends are always knocking around at the beach, or in the garage jamming together; it’s what makes their downtime so relaxing.
“We’re a close-knit bunch, we love hanging out and just listening to music, as well as hitting up all the live gigs,” Patrick said.
This is what the off-season looks like for Patrick Jensen, during the Winter months he’s based at Perisher or Jindabyne practising his trade, shredding the slopes, and preparing to compete. Incredibly, Patrick is headed to his second Winter Paralympic Games despite only being introduced to winter parasports in 2014.
The truly remarkable side of Patrick Jensen is not only his skiing ability but his carefree and down to earth nature. The 26-year-old para-alpine skier was diagnosed with macular dystrophy at the age of just seven years old and has spent the greater part of his life with a visual impairment.
Despite this, Patrick says that the reward is far greater than the sacrifices made.
“I’m constantly looking to push and break my own limits, looking for challenges,” Patrick said.
2022 is Patrick’s second appearance at the Winter Games, and he is determined not to focus on the result but to focus on the experience. This is something he feels that he wasn’t able to do in Pyeongchang in 2018.
“I think it’s important to just keep calm and take it all in, at PyeongChang I felt a bit of pressure, so it’s nice to just take in all the cool stuff.”
Patrick competed in the Men’s Downhill Vision Impaired on Saturday, finishing in 8th place. He took to the slopes on Sunday with another strong showing. You can follow his progress at the games right through to 12 March, which is the final day of the Para-Alpine skiing events.
Whilst the festivities and the competition remain a key focus of Newcastle’s Paralympic hope, Patrick admits that without the support from his loved ones he would never be where he is today.
“The amount of support they throw behind me is overwhelming but I’m extremely grateful for everything they do,” Patrick said.
You can watch Patrick Jensen take on the rest of the world at the Beijing Winter Paralympics on the 7Plus app, where all of the Paralympic Games are being broadcast.
Feature Image by Lena Smirnova for World Para Sports