There should be a movie about Paralympic triathlete Krige Schabort. As a kid growing up in Cape Town, South Africa, he had almost no interest in long-distance racing. He ran in high school, but begrudgingly.
“I never really enjoyed it much,” Schabort says. “There was some pressure from my parents and the teachers because there was talent there, but I didn’t want to exploit it. I wanted to surf more. Surf and play rugby.”
Schabort still surfs, but his world changed nearly 30 years ago. While serving in the South African army, a bomb exploded just six feet away from him. He was incredibly lucky to survive the blast, but he also lost both his legs. The “accident,” as Schabort describes it, gave rise to a career as a world-class athlete.
Since then, the six-time Paralympian has medaled twice in the marathon, won gold and silver medals at the marathon world championships, broken an Ironman world record, competed for both South Africa and the US in the games, and won an Espy.
He’s also been busy kicking Father Time’s ass; This past weekend, a day after his 53rd birthday, he placed fifth in the first-ever paratriathlon event in the Paralympic Games in Rio. The guy who took gold, Jetze Plat from the Netherlands, was 25 years old. The average age of the other athletes was 36.
“My competition was on its A game, and that’s one thing you can’t control,” Schabort says. “Those young guys are fast, I’m telling you. But I’m a guy who goes with experience. That’s my one advantage.”