As Casey Tibbs lay on the road, staring into the sky wondering, the last thing on his mind was that rabbit.
Will girls ever like me? Will I be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life?
The Navy man with such promise and resolve was torn. His right foot rested one hundred yards up the asphalt. It was severed instantly by a guardrail when loose gravel caused Tibbs to lose control of his motorcycle. On that March day, eleven years ago, his grandfather's words weren't with him.
Never quit chasing the rabbit.
"As a kid, I got tired of hearing that story," Tibbs admits. "But now any time I have adversity either before a competition or I have to leave my wife and kids for deployment, I have my grandfather's voice in the back of my head."
The parable involves a coyote who can only eat jack rabbits to live. The moral is never give up. And with his grandparents by his side at the hospital, it's something Tibbs decided to make his motto.
"I knew I was going to be a paralympian," he says matter-of-factly.
Three years after the accident, Tibbs became the first American active-duty military member to compete in the Paralympic Games. He took home two medals from Athens, including gold in the 4x100m relay. Four years later, he would repeat the accomplishment in Beijing. Now Tibbs has teamed up with Kelloggs as he heads to London to attempt the three-peat.
"I don't feel as much pressure as I felt in '08," he says. "People were expecting me to do well in '08 after surprising everyone in '04, so that was huge. I kind of have a more cool, calm approach to these games."
Tibbs has already been to London. He went last September for a kickoff event in Trafalgar Square and expects these Paralympic Games to be the biggest and best yet. He won't be distracted by the sights, nor sidetracked by the fervor. His goals remain unchanged.
"I'd be lying if I said I was okay coming home without a gold medal."
There goes the rabbit.
-- Follow Adam Watson on Twitter @AdamKWatson.
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