Olympic athlete pursuing firefighting excellence finds it at East Texas academy

Olympic athlete pursuing firefighting excellence finds it at East Texas academy
Fire Academy instructors show the next round of recruits how to extract crash victims from a damaged vehicle (Source: KLTV)
Fire Academy instructors show the next round of recruits how to extract crash victims from a damaged vehicle (Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV)
(Source: KLTV)

KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - It's no secret that Kilgore College boasts one of the most well-respected firefighting academies in the country. In fact, it's even brought in a recruit who knows a thing or two about excellence.

"I think Mike Tyson said "everybody's got a plan until you get punched in the face," said Will Crothers, silver medalist for Canada.

Crothers won't have to worry about ducking any punches, but he will have plenty on his hands as he continues to train for another passion as a firefighter.

"Firefighting really just aligns with a lot of my previous experience working with a team, highly motivated individuals," said Crothers. "You know I've always had a lot of support from my community to get where I"m at with rowing, and I thought firefighting was a great way to give back."

Crothers competed in the 2012 Olympic Games in London, and received a silver medal in rowing in the 20-16 Olympic Games  in Brazil. So, you may be wondering how an Olympic athlete ends up in Kilgore?

"I went and did a ride-a-long with the Victoria B.C. Fire Department, and they guys there, they all spoke highly of the Kilgore academy," Crothers said.

So, the man who has spent his life pursuing excellence found it in a place he never knew to look.

"You know, I'm kinda one of those people, you kinda come in and try not to have too many expectations," Crothers said.

Kilgore may not have Mike Tyson, but it does have some of the hardest working men and women with more important business: saving lives.

"Coming down here, I knew it was going to be a great school, a great opportunity and a great experience... but yeah, I've never been to Texas before, so you never know what to expect."

Crothers said he plans to move back to Canada once his fire academy training is complete. He said he's going to compete for gold in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. He then plans to pursue a career as a firefighter once he hangs up his paddles.

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