Many stories can be told about champions. Some of them may turn into legends while others may become valuable life lessons. My story transformed from success to agony and then into a world champion victory, all of these in a few moments.
I started my sport career at an early age and my first choice was hockey. Since I’ve always wanted to be number one on the podium, and this sport seemed to keep me far from that, I decided to do something more alike me, also pushed by my father’s suggestion of choosing a proper activity suitable for me. After a while I started speed skating.
After 10 years of speed skating, 5 national titles, 30 national records and 3rdplace in Senior World Cup, I no longer wanted to stop. But faith decided to stop me. Only for a while. After that short stop, I got up again. In my mind I always knew that I must be a champion, and with this belief I kept on living my life, because I assumed that when ordinarily people stop, champions move on.
Until the 1996 accident I was one of the best speed skaters in the country, a maniac in my trainings, also called “the ambitious”. On my way to another contest together with my family, we had a car accident, after which the bottom of my right foot was amputated. Apparently, an insignificant car accident suddenly ruined 15 years of hard work and the promising life of a young man who only had one big dream, to be an athlete. After the accident, I enrolled myself into the Law School. I practiced law for a while and realized that being an attorney will not make me a champion, nor bring me any gold
medal. This was what I wished for, to be a champion, to be the best. I have always known who I am and what I can achieve, therefore I decided to go back to sports. Without any financial support from the government, I enrolled and won some international contests. After my comeback, the beginning was really hard, but the desire to become a champion did not stop at all, and the harder it was, the bigger my dream became. For a few years I was a sales agent of leg prosthesis at my own business during the day, and an athlete in trainings during the night. I had set up my own business in order to have the financial support for my dream, and this was hard but worth the effort. The last 15 years of 5 o’clock morning trainings and plenty of hard work helped me figure out how to be a winner no matter what and never give up.
I have fallen many times, but I always managed to rise
I remember that at my first cycling contest even the girls were better than me. Because of the prosthesis and lack of a professional support during my trainings, I lost my balance and often failed in races where I could have won without problems.Nevertheless, I did not give up for one second, and every time I lost balance on the bike and fell, I quickly put myself together and rose. Moments like these taught me that in sport is just like in life. It was then when I decided that not the talent will define who I am, but the determination to fulfil my dream. With money earned from entrepreneurship and the clear response from the government that in Romania did not exist a National Paralympics Cycling Championship, in 2003 I competed and won 1st prize in the Paralympic European Championship. This was the success that made me pedal harder than ever before to reach Athens in 2004.
After the European success I constantly trained to compete in Athens Paralympics in 2004, where I ranked the 4th on podium. This huge step for a champion seemed a failure for me, even though my only coach was the Internet, as others used to laugh about. However, I continued to pursue my dream.
I was never afraid of getting myself into big things….
After Athens I became the manager of my own paralympic cycling lot, where I was the one responsible from buying flight tickets to the wheels for our bikes. After a while, I found a coach and we managed to set the first professional paralympic cycling team in Romania, along with the preparation for London 2012, where I could imagine anything but not to win. Into this unstoppable fight of being the best, I learned that constant introspection and the desire of improving oneself are the keys that helped me achieve my goals. 25 years of hard work and 4 world titles led me to my biggest dream. The night before London 2012 Paralympics all excitement overgrew, but since the last training of nearly 3 hours I knew that the 4 minutes contest will place me on the highest step of the podium. Later did I find out that I had set a new world record in Paralympics cycling.
Shortly, I am Eduard Novak and many consider me a champion of life. My will is to prove this further on. I confess to you all that my dream has never stopped and is growing constantly into something big.