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Former Crown Royal hero named to Paralympic team

February 13, 2014, Staff report,

Heath Calhoun heading to Paralympic Games March 7- 16, 2014

Four years after being in the spotlight at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race, Heath Calhoun will return to the sports spotlight next month when he hits the slopes of Sochi, Russia in the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

Calhoun, a retired Army squad leader with the 101st Airborne, lost both of his legs above the knees in an explosion in Iraq. For his bravery in battle, the Tennessee native was awarded the Purple Heart as well as the George C. Lang Award for Courage.

In the spring of 2010, the NASCAR fan who claims Tony Stewart as his favorite driver was chosen from a group of five military finalists and honored as part of the Crown Royal Your Hero's Name Here 400 at Richmond International Raceway.

As the grand prize winner, Calhoun took part in pre-race festivities, including a visit to the Virginia governor's mansion with Matt Kenseth, and he participated in the trophy presentation, giving the award named in his honor to winner Kyle Busch.

NBC Olympics/USOC

Fast forward to 2014, Calhoun was nominated as one of 26 athletes and four guides to the U.S. Paralympic Alpine Skiing team. In the lead-up to the Sochi Games, Calhoun won silver in slalom in the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup in Copper Mountain, Colo. His efforts made him one of 16 team members to record a World Cup podium finishes since the season began last August.

Competition for alpine skiing will take place March 8-16, and Calhoun is preparing for the Paralympics Games by training in France. While he gets ready to compete, he's looking forward to seeing "Smoke" rise during Speedweeks as the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion returns to competition in the Sprint Unlimited on Feb. 15 and seeks his first Daytona 500 victory on Feb. 23.

"Great to see Tony Stewart behind the wheel again and can’t wait to watch him race at Daytona," Calhoun said.

If you know a hero like Heath Calhoun, nominate him at for a chance to win naming rights to the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday July 27.


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