Sport

David Campion swaps basketball for snowboards and Winter Special Olympics

There are few people capable of playing one sport at an elite level; even fewer find themselves in the position to represent their country in two.

But David Campion is one of the lucky few.

Campion won second place in last year's Special Olympics Australia National Winter Games for snowboarding in the giant slalom, while two years before that he was part of the Australian basketball contingent who came fourth at the Asia Pacific games in Newcastle.

The 30-year-old Canberran has been selected to represent Australia at the Winter Special Olympics in Austria, and says he is looking forward to the event.

"Yeah, [I'm] excited and a bit nervous," Campion said. "This is my second time representing Australia."

Campion, who was born in Windsor, NSW, spent many of his younger years living in the UK and Hong Kong before settling in Canberra.

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He trades his snowboard for a basketball every summer, and then returns to the slopes during the middle of the year. 

"I probably prefer snowboarding," Campion said, "because it's an individual sport. There's more pressure on me when I play basketball basically. It's not just an individual sport, it's a team sport and you have pressure on you, pressure on your teammates and that.

"It doesn't help when your teammates are yelling at you 'pass me the ball'."

Campion and his teammates will leave early next year for a training camp in New Zealand ahead of the Special Olympics.

"It gets us guys used to going out on the snow and that, gets us guys used to practising on the racecourse. [And] it gets you used to basically knowing where the gates are, where the course is and all that."

Campion knows team members will need all the preparation  they can get as they will be facing stiff competition in the Winter Games, historically not Australia's best format.

"The main countries that I'll probably be competing against [for medals] are Russia and the United States, possibly New Zealand. They're the main ones that I have to watch out for."

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