Written by Sabine Demosthenes
MONTREAL – Sometimes, we are lucky enough to witness in our lifetime inspiring people lives.
Why are they inspiring?
Because they have shown so much courage. They bring the best of themselves with their attitude on life and showcase adversity without giving up. And most of the time, they are so damn nice too.
If we are lucky enough to have them by our side, physically or not, they make good mentors on our quest to be as great as they are.
When you meet inspiring people or what you see as a kind, driven, courageous person on TV, the soccer field, a movie screen or a race track, sometimes you cannot pinch yourself enough to wake up from the dream or fantasy. It’s the real deal.
This hero is truly one of these people.
Niki Lauda is the perfect example.
Since I was a little girl, growing up in Montreal North, I’ve been a die-hard racing fan. I grew up idolizing Ayrton Senna, but was starstruck by Niki Lauda.
First of all, he shares the same surname as my father. For a 5-year-old girl, this was very cool! I was even more impressed when my big brother explained to me, like he always did and keeps doing to this day, that Niki Lauda is not like other drivers.
I asked my brother why he was so special and he told me that he was in a horrific accident the year my brother was born. I was so sad and asked him if Lauda had died. My brother said he didn’t. I was so relieved.
At the time, I had just been traumatized by a fire at my kindergarten, so my brother knew that he needed to be very cautious in explaining to me that Niki had been inside his burning car for 50 seconds and that he was badly injured. This news made me very sad and very scared. My dear brother quickly reassured me that he made it and six weeks later, he was back on the racing track and finishing fourth in the Italian Grand Prix. If that isn’t the definition of resilient, I don’t know what is.
One of the bravest acts in history was when he tried to remove the balaclava (the balaclava is like a head sock the drivers put before putting their helmet). It was stuck to the bandages from his head injury. He ripped it off in one go! That is clearly one of the bravest things to do.
That is clearly one of the bravest things to do.
I said then and that I had conquered my fear quickly and cleanly. That was a lie. But it would have been foolish to play into the hands of my rivals by confirming my weakness at Manza, I was rigid with fear. – Niki Lauda
The little girl that I was grew up admiring and respecting this giant. She studied his business mind, his intellect, and his resilience. She does know that she was not the only one.
Thank you Niki!
And thank you to our dear friend Umit! We are missing you so much.
You were both angels on earth.