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South Hadley native brings home gold from winter Paralympics

South Hadley native brings home gold from winter Paralympics
Updated: Mar. 18, 2022 at 5:50 PM EDT
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HOLYOKE, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - A South Hadley native representing the U.S. in the Beijing Paralympics and is now home with the gold.

“We went in as the number one seed, so our goal and hope is to win gold and we got it done,” said Kyle Zych.

The U.S. sled hockey team took home the gold from the 2022 Winter Paralympics. Zych and his 16 teammates were victorious in their semifinal game against China, which sent them to finals against their archrivals: Canada.

“We beat Canada 5-0 in both games and they are our closest competition,” but we were just training for so long beforehand,” Zych added.

Zych and his teammates kept their eye on the prize throughout their two and a half weeks at the Olympic village in Beijing and all that hard work paid off.

“Just so much time and effort was put in, so it was good to finally get the medal…For hockey, the medal ceremony is right on the ice right after you win, so that was pretty cool just to be out there in our gear and everything. U.S. and Canada came out for our medals and then China came out for their bronze,” Zych explained.

Zych told Western Mass News that this is an achievement he has been dreaming of for years and is thankful for all the support.

“Thank you to everyone at home who supported us. Me personally, I had tons of support from western Massachusetts, all over Massachusetts, all over New England, friends, family, coaches, just so many people that I have to thank for helping us to the gold medal,” Zych said.

It all leaves him with more than just a medal, but also an experience he will never forget.

“The opening ceremony was surreal. I mean walking out in the crowd was full of people, so that was really cool. I had goosebumps the whole time,” Zych noted.

Zych will also be participating in the Holyoke St. Patricks Parade on Sunday.