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Saturday, July 2, 2022

Family comes first for eight year-old cycling star Constantine Gibson

At just eight years old, Constantine Gibson feats in the velodrome have caught the eye of a WA-based cycling great.

But his cycling achievements pale in comparison to what he was doing regularly as a three-year old – namely, counting compressions for his parents as they performed CPR on his younger brother.

Gibson’s younger brother Jericho was diagnosed with dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy characterized by frequent, prolonged seizures, at six months.

When Constantine is at the velodrome or on the road, he is driven by an insatiable love of beyond his tender years – but when he is not on his bike, his father Guy said he shifts gears into being a protective big brother.

“He looks out for him; he knows when he hears that yelp, it’s on and how to prepare him on the side and if the seizure is going longer than two minutes, we’ve got to get the midazolam, which is his rescue medication,” he said.

Thursday is International Dravet Syndrome Awareness Day, a day close to the Gibson’s family’s heart for obvious reasons.

Family comes first for eight year-old cycling star Constantine Gibson
Camera IconConstantine Gibson with the six gold medals he won in the 11s category at the WA Track Cycling State Championships this year. Credit: Supplied

Jericho’s seizures can be triggered by cold temperatures and he receives physio and occupational therapy care multiple days a week.

His father sleeps beside him every night in case he has a seizure and the family moved back to Perth from over east in the wake of the diagnosis.

The silver lining of the move was it allowed Constantine to discover his love of cycling.

“When I took him out during COVID lockdown, he didn’t want to stop. He would just do crazy amount of kilometres for his age,” his father said.

A self-confessed cycling novice, the elder Gibson sought to nurture his son’s love and the pair found their way to Track Cycling WA.

“They put him into his first comp at eight and that was the WA Track Cycling State Championships, they had every confidence in him to unleash him at that time,” he said.

“I was a bit hesitant but they knew what they were doing; he clean swept.”

Constantine Gibson (back) with his younger brother Jericho.
Camera IconConstantine Gibson (back) with his younger brother Jericho. Credit: Supplied

At just eight years-old, Gibson won an incredible six gold medals in an age category three years older than him and soon after, added a state road title to his record.

Jericho comes and supports his older brother at the track club when he can, where the pair caught the eye of London Olympic bronze medalist Shane Perkins.

The cycling great said he was overawed not just by Constantine’s rare aptitude, but also his dedication to Jericho.

“I have no doubt that Constantine draws strength from his connection with his brother Jericho. It’s a beautiful thing that bond and the way Con handles this is inspiring to all those around him,” Perkins said.

“It was very apparent early on how passionate Con was about his riding and his thirst for knowledge around the sport. He is always asking questions, learning from all the riders around him, crafting his skills in every way he can.

“He is willing to what is necessary to learn the fundamentals at such a young age from the experienced cyclist around him. You couple that with his competitive nature and you have the recipe for a very successful athlete in the making.”

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