LDS Paralympian to Compete in London
By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer
“Before I swim at an event, I always pray that I will do my best and that I will be happy afterward, no matter how I finish.” —Brickelle Bro, 15-year-old swimmer competing in the 2012 Paralympic Games
Latter-day Saint teen Brickelle Bro has learned early in life to recognize the things beyond and within one’s control.
The 15-year-old from Castle Pines, Colorado, USA, was born without feet. It’s a condition she would certainly like to change—but it’s beyond her control. But that lifelong physical challenge has not kept her from realizing her potential (those matters within her control) as a faithful Mia Maid, a dutiful student, and world-class athlete.
In a few weeks Brickelle will travel to England with her parents, Lane and Heather Bro, and her two young siblings. There she will compete for the United States in the 2012 London Paralympic Games in front of a global audience. Brickelle is a swimmer who will compete in multiple freestyle sprinting events, including the 100 free, the 400 free, and possibly the 50 free.
She can be counted among the medal favorites after enjoying recent success with her American team at an important international meet in Canada.
“Before I swim at an event I always pray that I will do my best and that I will be happy afterward, no matter how I finish,” said the teen, who also enjoys studying English and film production.
A member of the Castle Rock Colorado Stake, Brickelle does not come from a swimming family. But when she was a little girl, her parents noticed how comfortable she was in the water. “She would rather play in the bathtub than go to the park,” said her mother.
Soon Brickelle made the shift from the tub to the pool. While walking required the use of prosthetic legs, swimming offered her freedom that she could not fully realize on dry ground.
“The water is an equalizer for everyone,” she said.
Brickelle, who typically trains with able-bodied athletes, has been involved in competitive swimming for over four years.
The Paralympics, which are scheduled to begin on August 29, 2012, will present the opportunity to compete against some of the top athletes with disabilities in the world.
The Bros say their daughter’s optimism and her drive to be the best she can be is directly connected to the gospel.
“When Brickelle was born, the Spirit spoke to me and said that everything was going to be okay,” said Sister Bro. “I knew that the Lord was there and that He was watching us.”
While in London, Brickelle will be something of an unofficial “ambassador” for the Church as she meets, competes with, and befriends fellow athletes from around the world. Her parents say she is up to the task.
“She’s just really a good girl who takes the time to do what is right,” said Sister Bro.
During the Paralympics Brickelle will make her home in the athletes’ village with her teammates. She hopes to be able to participate in the Opening Ceremonies if her training schedule allows. After the Games, the Bros will spend a week as tourists in London.
Regardless of Brickelle’s results in the pool, the Bros know she will make the most of this remarkable experience. “She has always had a sense of peace and calm about her,” her mother said.