What do Daniel Ricciardo & Kurt Furnley have in common?
I couldn’t believe it the other day when I read about these two great Australian sportsman. They are both very different people (Daniel is a F1 grand prix driver and Kurt is a wheelchair racer) but have many common traits.
The will to succeed and excel in everything they do is paramount to both men and both started their careers in very humble circumstances. I thought I would talk about these two men as I found them to be inspirational people and Kurt in particular believes anything is possible if you really want it to happen.
Kurt was born in 1981 in the NSW town of Cowra as the youngest of five children. He has a congenital disorder called sacral agenesis which prevented foetal development of parts of his lower spine and all of his sacrum. This hasn’t stopped Kurt though and he has participated in the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games as a long and middle distance wheelchair racer.
“I had my Mum and Dad and my four other brothers and sisters sitting around me constantly telling me I can do anything. And then I had Carcoar which is a town of 200 people every time I see them they were telling me I can do anything and I think if you have that enough, you’re going to be determined. You’re told constantly from when you’re a kid that everything is possible, that I don’t think there’s any other alternative but to start to believe that”.
“The town had got together and raised $10,000 and they bought the chair and they … paid for the trip and they said if he needs anything else you know we’re going to make sure that he … gets that opportunity. So it’s a town of 200 people within a week had had 10 grand sitting there, so it was it’s nice now that I know that Carcoar have this … bond I guess, or they know that they’re the reason that I’m here”.
- Kurt Fearnley **
As well as winning gold medals at the Paralympic Games, he has also taken part in many wheelchair marathons and has “crawled” the Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. The Kokoda Track is an achievement that any person would be proud of but I can not imagine the determination you must need to crawl the entire track.
Daniel is also a particularly tenacious sportsman and has reached the pinnacle of one of the most expensive sports in the world (Formula One) but has had to do it the “hard way.” He started driving Karts at the age of nine, then progressed to Formula Ford although he had an old uncompetitive car and poor results. The following year he was offered to race in the Formula BMW Asia championship and went on to finish 3rd in the championship.
It was around this time that his parents put a lot of faith and money behind their son and decided to send him to Europe to find his next big break. He went on to race Formula Renault, Formula Three and became the first British Formula Three Champion since David Brabham in 1989.
Of course, to cut a long story short, he then went on to become involved and drive for Red Bull racing and eventually made it to Formula One. He has since had three victories in F1 and will next year be Red Bulls main driver with Daniil Kvyat in 2015.
Although this sounds like a whirlwind when it is written in only 2-300 words, apparently Daniel definitely did not start leading the life of the rich and famous. When his parents sent him to Europe to live alone at the age of seventeen, he ended up in a very small Italian village in an apartment that had no internet connection and definitely no luxury appointments. He worked hard and earned every break he got until eventually rising to the pinnacle of his chosen sport. Maybe that is why he has the Honey Badger as his mascot on his crash helmet. Apparently honey badgers are placid looking creatures but when motivated can be very determined and even aggressive.
I wrote this post because I was inspired by how different these two men were but also by how similar their tenacity and will to win is. They are both inspiring young men and thought it may motivate you as readers – as really, “we don’t have a lot to complain about, do we?”. Whenever you’re not sure about that next step you are about to take, think of Daniel and Kurt for some welcome inspiration!!
** Excerpts from Wikipedia