Olympic athlete spreads message

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 25, 2002

Sports have always been a big part of Craig MacFarlane’s life.

Monday, February 25, 2002

Sports have always been a big part of Craig MacFarlane’s life.

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Over the years, he has garnered more than 100 medals in water skiing, golf, track and field and ice-skating. At 38 years of age, MacFarlane has achieved more than a lot of people do in a lifetime.

As impressive as all of this is, it becomes even more remarkable once you learn that he is blind.

MacFarlane, a Canadian, lost his vision when he was 2 years old. Since then, he has used his other senses to see the world around him.

MacFarlane, now a professional motivational speaker, will make two appearances in Lawrence County Thursday to talk about how he has managed to overcome obstacles. He will speak to students at Coal Grove High School from 1:30-3 p.m. and then will deliver his message to the public at Ohio University Southern Campus from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

MacFarlane’s appearance will be sponsored by Edward Jones Investments.

Mark Compston, an investment representative for Edward Jones in Ironton, said MacFarlane was summoned to appear in the county to help boost its morale in light of all of the economic strife the region has witnessed the past couple of years.

"We want to try to build the region up, and feel his message of overcoming obstacles was appropriate," Compston said. "With him being an Olympian and the Olympics just finishing up it’s a good time (to bring him in to speak). It’s a way for us to give back to the community we serve."

Compston said MacFarlane has been retained by the Edward Jones company to travel around the country and deliver his message.

"It’s good to have someone with his talents and abilities to make a presentation," Compston added.

According to a press release, MacFarlane speaks about "overcoming challenges a in the face of adversity."

MacFarlane got involved in athletics at a young age. While attending a national school for the blind at 6, he began wrestling. He won his first blind national wrestling championship at age 13.

By 1980, he was on Canada’s Olympic wrestling team and, the following year, competed in the World Championship of wrestling and won the 1981 championship.

His achievements have been profiled by many, including NBC sportscaster Bob Costas.