A shared triumph
WHEN Bundaberg wheelchair athlete Rheed McCracken arrived home to a bevy of supporters after winning two medals at the 2012 London Paralympics, the NewsMail was there to welcome him back alongside family, friends and well-wishers.
In fact, the NewsMail had been reporting Rheed's ambitions and success for years, right back to when he was a 10-year-old with little monetary support but big dreams.
We were there to bring you stories of his record-breaking efforts as a sporting wheelies junior, and we were there to push the fundraising drive for a proper racing wheelchair for the rising star when he was just 13 years old.
We covered his astonishing third place in his first outing in that racing chair in a 10km event in Sydney, and we followed his successes through state and national titles, breaking records along the way.
But the peak of his achievements came in London 2012, when Rheed - then aged just 15 and the youngest in the field by 11 years - won silver and bronze medals in the 100m and 200m T34 events.
The NewsMail even turned its masthead green and gold to celebrate the teenager's enormous achievement.
We were there to cover the community welcoming ceremony put on by Bundaberg Regional Council a few days after his return, and we'll continue to cheer for him as he prepares for Rio next year.
WATCH THE VIDEO ONLINE
To see our video slideshow of our coverage of Rheed McCracken's achievements, scan this QR code with your smartphone
Don't forget to watch the other videos in out 12-part We Were There series.