PyeongChang 2018: Fairytale finish for Declan Farmer

Princeton University student relives Paralympic gold before returning to his studies 23 Mar 2018
By Stuart Lieberman | For the IPC

“We were so together as teammates and brothers. It’s all a blur at the moment, but when it comes back, I will remember this day for the rest of my life.”

Para ice hockey forward Declan Farmer delivered when it mattered most, scoring both the go-ahead goal with 37 seconds left in regulation and the game-winner in overtime against Canada to give the USA its third consecutive Paralympic gold at PyeongChang 2018.

“That was awesome,” Farmer said. “We were so together as teammates and brothers. It’s all a blur at the moment, but when it comes back, I will remember this day for the rest of my life.”

So what is next for the 20-year-old economics student after writing a storybook ending at the Gangneung Hockey Centre?

“Now, I have to go back to school to finish up the semester, and I guess I’ll have to catch up on some homework next week,” Farmer said, chuckling, not wanting to think about it.

He will, however, certainly return to Princeton University with a warm reception after setting records and shocking the world with the USA’s dramatic comeback.

Farmer finished as the tournament’s leading scorer with 11 goals, and he also led all skaters with 17 points. He now shares the Paralympic record for most goals scored at a single Paralympics with Sylvester Flis, who reached the mark in 2002. His 14 Paralympic career goals is also a new US Paralympic record.

“That was insane,” fellow US forward Brody Roybal said of Farmer’s all-around performance. “I can’t even remember the winning goal. Emotions were running really high at the end. Declan was a beast for us, and I’m so happy for him he scored the winning goal.”

Farmer, born a bilateral amputee, has come on in leaps and bounds from the shy, bashful 16-year-old he was in his Paralympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Games. He was named the IPC’s Best Male Athlete and won an ESPY Award after scoring three goals to help his team win gold in Sochi, but his character was still understated and evolving at that point as a growing teenager.

As one of the USA’s alternate captains for PyeongChang 2018, Farmer’s persona off the ice caught up with his skill level on the ice.

He was more vocal.

He was more poised.

And he was definitely more confident.

His growth showed after the gold medal game in the media mixed zone, where he ran reporters through a thank you list of all the family members and coaching staff that helped get him to this point. He stopped for any reporter who had a question, giving each and every journalist a well-composed, professional, yet genuine answer.

Already one of the famous faces of Para ice hockey, Farmer could take the sport to even greater heights in another four years.

But for now, he will relish his victory and try to catch up on his homework.

“We hope to go for gold again in Beijing in 2022 and the team changes every time, but this is something this group will have to share together forever, and I’m so proud to be a part of it,” Farmer said.

The official website for PyeongChang 2018 can be found here.