QC community celebrates McKee’s third Paralympic gold medal
BETTENDORF, Iowa (KWQC) - A small fraction of people across the United States, and the world, can say they’ve ever won a gold medal of any sort. One Quad Cities native now has three.
Family and friends filled Oscar’s Pub in Bettendorf Saturday to celebrate Kevin McKee winning his third consecutive Paralympic gold medal in sled hockey. Mckee said he didn’t realize the magnitude of his accomplishment initially.
“My coach in the airport right before I went on a different plane to go home said, ‘You have three now, right?’ I was like, ‘Oh, yeah. That’s kinda cool. I’m a part of that group now,’” McKee said.
Mckee moved away for six months to train and said he is grateful for all the support.
“Just to have that support and my friends, and now my friends and stuff are coming out, it’s really awesome to see. You don’t understand how much people do support you and watch you until you have moments like this when they come and say, ‘Hey, I watched,’” McKee said. “It’s a good feeling.”
Mckee said training four years for a three-week event is all worth it when it ends with a gold medal.
“You get goosebumps before the games and stuff like that, and the gold medal game for sure,” McKee said. “That’s why we play. That’s why it is so hard to be on this team, and why guys work every day for that moment. It paid off.”
Mckee was born with caudal regression syndrome, a disorder that impairs the development of the lower half of the body. His father, Brian McKee, said he’s amazed at all that his son has accomplished.
“From the minute they told us how he would be all his life, to what he has done and accomplished, is unbelievable. Proud beyond words,” Brian McKee said.
Beyond the gold medal, Kevin McKee hopes athletes of all abilities can learn an important life lesson from Team USA.
“It doesn’t matter what your disability is. You can put anything you put your mind to. We got guys that are amputees, war guys. We’ve got guys who have had cancer, birth defects, like me. We’ve had to overcome so much in our lives just to get to that point,” McKee said.
Mckee said that his favorite Paralympics gold medal was in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He plans to decide in the next couple of months if he will attempt to go for a fourth gold medal in 2026.
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