I am a self-described Olympics fanatic, and I’m enjoying the Beijing winter games so much this year. There’s just something so epic about only getting a shot at your dreams every four years and I love watching the drama play out. However this week, these games surprised me with a glimpse of another kind of drama—during a commercial break of all things.
Toyota released a version of their ad for this weekend’s big football game early, and whew, did it give me chills!
The Toyota ad called “Brothers” tells the story of Paralympic athletes Brian and Robin McKeever.
The ad starts out with some heartwarming ski training and competition watching between two brothers. As it progresses, we watch the brothers grow and train, becoming serious skiers. And then, heartbreakingly, we see one get diagnosed with an untreatable, degenerative eye disease. We see an Olympic dream die.
We can almost hear the sound of Brian McKeever’s heart breaking.
We see the training starting again. The blood, sweat, and tears being poured out. We see a world-class athlete being formed.
Because Brian McKeever decides not to let his disability hold him back.
He starts training for the Paralympic Games in cross-country skiing, with his big brother Robin, a 1998 Olympian, as his guide.
Being a Paralympic skiing guide requires a huge amount of athletic training and discipline. There aren’t many who can do it. Brian told Toyota how his brother was integral in making his Olympic dreams come true.
“To keep competing, I needed a guide,” Brian says. “At that point, there were only four or five people in the country who could have gotten the job and been an effective guide for me. One of those people was Robin.”
Out of four or five people in the entire country (which is Canada for them, by the way), one of those qualified to guide Brian in his athletic pursuits after he lost his eyesight was his big brother.
I mean, come on!
This is the kind of story that makes me adore the Paralympics! It’s truly epic.
But these brothers don’t just compete together . . . they WIN together. Though Brian now competes with a new guide, he and Robin skied in three consecutive Paralympics together (2002, 2006, and 2010).
With 17 medals—13 of them gold—Brian is the most decorated Paralympic cross-country skier ever.
How amazing is it not only to accomplish all that despite being blind, but to do it with your own brother? I seriously cannot with this story. It’s almost too beautiful to be true! But it is. Skiing together brought them even more in sync than growing up together did. Watching them race was almost like watching clones, rather than two distinct people. “We’re as close to twins as you can be this many years apart,” Robin says.
So, are you crying yet? I absolutely LOVE the way Toyota shined a light on this story and on athletes with disabilities in general. It’s heartwarming to see that although our physical challenges may change our hopes and dreams, they in no way have to obliterate them.
Keep an eye out for this ad during Sunday’s big game!