A Brother’s Bond

As cross-country skier Gary Chaplin walked through the arrival gates at Whitehorse International Airport last month, gold, silver and bronze medals hanging around his neck and bagpipes playing, it was hard to determine who was more proud: Garry himself or his older brother. It was nine months earlier that Garry and his 23-year-old brother, Clint, first began training together. Their goal: prepare Garry, the lone Yukon athlete selected, for the 2005 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Nagano, Japan. Clint began coaching Garry After the executive director of the Yukon Special Olympics Chapter, Serge Michaud, approached Clint and asked if he would be interested in being Garry’s dry-land coach. A frequent visitor to the gym and having always had a close relationship with his younger brother,

Clint jumped at the opportunity to help his sibling prepare for the World Games. The training would be vigorous and demanding as Clint was faced with trying to encourage Garry to want to go to the gym regularly.“Prior to us training together,Garry rarely, if ever, went to the gym,” said Clint. “My main motivation was to get him to want to workout.”

The two would be at Peak Fitness three to four times a week, working out two to three hours per session.In addition, Garry would be on the bicycle three times a week.Clint soon became to Garrywhat Apollo Creed was to Rocky.

While training Garry, Clint juggle two jobs and as a result saw the bulk of his free time taken up. Although frustrating at times, it was in the summer Clint first began to notice his hard work paying off, as Garry made the decision to stay at Clint’s house for a few weeks to continue training, rather than going on summer holidays with his parents.

“When we first began training,Garry literally couldn’t even do a push up,” said Clint. “At the end of the summer he was doing 10!”By the time their training was complete in February, Clint’s biggest challenge was getting Garry, now 17 pounds lighter, to stop working out. “Garry is excellent,” beamsClint. “He wouldn’t quit. I had to stop him on weights when he was getting too tired. He trained like crazy and he always told me I Won’t give up, I won’t give up.” It was through that motto and dedication to train with his brother that Garry was able to shed an amazing eight minutes off his personal best time and, in doing so, reach the pinnacle of Special Olympics success: the gold medal. Shocking, unbelievable and unreal is how Clint describes his reaction to learning, via the Internet, that his brother had won three medals in Nagano: Gold in the three-kilometre sprint, silver in the 4×1-kilometre relay and bronze in the one-kilometre event.“I always knew Garry had the heart of a champion,” said Clint.“Now I guess I can say he’s got the heart of an Olympic champ.” Since Garry arrived home from Japan Clint admits to going a bit overboard in bragging about his brother’s success.“I’m just so proud of him,” said Clint. “He did better than I Ever could have expected. We all dreamed he would do that well and we all hoped he would, but realistically none of us had any idea what he was getting into down there … and he did it.” “Yes I did,” adds Garry, smiling at his brother. “Yes I did.”

To My Brother,

for the Champion in All of Us:

A poem by Clint Chaplin

It’s hard enough to believe that you’re in Japan
I’ve watched you grow from a baby to a boy, to a man
I’ve given influences some of which I probably shouldn’t but saying “No” to training you
Garry, I just couldn’t
I knew you had it in you
I pushed you really hard you never ever gave up and now look at where you are the only Chaplin to grace Japan
The only Yukoner to compete on that Olympic Medal stand you’re the perfect athlete
I’ve been getting a lot of credit but all credit is due to you
I pushed you to achieve but achievement was up to you
helped you understand the science of who you are you helped me understand just how special you really are
you’re an inspiration to me a hero’s heart to go on even on your worst of days the training still went on you seldom would complain you never would let me down and on days I was exhausted you would train while I laid down you have the heart of a champion you earned every shade of medal defeating other countries Canada’s own “Good Fellow” you left for Japan
The only one without a bother now you’re bringing home gold I’m so proud that you’re my brother

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