Colorado Paralympians Want Another Taste Of Gold

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Photo: Paralympic Sled Hockey
U.S. Paralympic hockey players, including Nikko Landeros in the Number 15 jersey, celebrate their win at the 2014 games in Sochi, Russia.

On Sunday, two friends from Colorado will strap into their steel sleds, speed across the ice, let their hockey sticks fly and begin their quest for Paralympic gold.

If they make it through the tournament in PyeongChang, South Korea, it will be the third gold medal for Nikko Landeros and the second for Tyler Carron.

Landeros and Carron were wrestling teammates at Berthoud High School, north of Denver. In January 2007 they were driving back from a dance when they got a flat tire. They got out of the car to get the spare and were hit by another motorist. Both lost their legs in the accident.

For months they lived in adjacent hospital rooms, goading each other into recovery. Carron, a senior, wanted to walk through graduation in May. Landeros, who hated his prosthetics at first, decided he had to keep up.

When they were recruited for sled hockey, Landeros was the first to try and Carron followed. Both fell in love with the game, which is played on steel sleds anchored by skate blades. Each player holds two hockey sticks, which they use to propel themselves on the ice and, of course, to hit the puck.

Through it all, Carron and Landeros have been virtually inseparable.

"We probably have more of the same blood than anybody," Landeros says, because of all the transfusions they got in the hospital.