Olympic Hero Bradbury Rescues Teens, Earns Bravery Award


Two decades have passed since the unexpected triumph of Steven Bradbury in short track speed skating at the Salt Lake City Olympics. But his golden Olympic achievement isn’t his only accolade. Bradbury, once known as the “accidental hero,” has been thrust back into the spotlight, this time for a heroic deed well outside an ice rink.

The Queensland state governor has recognized Bradbury with a bravery award for his courageous act of rescuing four teenagers from the tumultuous waters off the beach at Caloundra. Situated an hour north of the capital city of Brisbane, this beach was the stage where Bradbury’s heroism played out in March last year.

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Bradbury, an Australian native, made a name for himself at the Winter Olympics in 2002. In what appeared a clear loss, he was trailing far behind his competitors in the 1,000-meter race. However, in an unexpected twist, all four rivals collided at the final corner while each fought for the gold medal. This occurrence allowed Bradbury, who was trailing unusually behind by nearly 15 meters, to dodge the tumultuous windfall and smoothly skate his way to a victorious finish–an iconic moment that earned Australia its first Winter Olympics gold medal.

Ian Chesterman, President of the Australian Olympic Committee, applauded Bradbury’s bravery and swift response during the dire beach incident the previous year. “The fact that Steven acted quickly, calmly, and with such courage is so impressive. He richly deserves this recognition,” the President keenly noted. But this was not merely acknowledgment of the latest honor. Chesterman continued, “We have always admired Steven for the way he made history on the ice, but his actions last year reflect an incredible achievement – the saving of four young lives.”

Bradbury, a decade past his midlife, was mentoring his son in surfboarding during the fateful day. It was then when he noticed a teenage girl struggling in the waters. Without losing a precious moment, he tasked his son to summon lifeguards while he ventured into the waves towards the young woman. After successfully escorting her back to the relative safety of the beach, Bradbury braved the rough seas once more to aid three other teenagers in distress.

Speaking on the honor bestowed on him, the humble hero stated, “I don’t feel like a bravery award is necessary, but I am happy to accept it and feel pretty proud about it.” Speaking to the Australian Associated Press, he poignantly reflected, “The feeling of knowing that you have saved people’s lives is something I will take to my grave.” Increase your writing skills and expressiveness here!