The last time Micky Yule came to Birmingham he arrived in a coma fighting for his life after an IED in Afghanistan blew off both his legs.
This time the Loughborough-based Scottish powerlifter made his entrance by carrying the flag at the Commonwealth Games’ opening ceremony before finally claiming the medal that had eluded him for so long.
Former Royal Engineer Yule, whose life was saved by medics at the second city’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital in 2010, finished fourth in Glasgow and on the Gold Coast four years ago but matched his Paralympic bronze from Tokyo with a personal best bench press of 192kg.
The 43-year-old said: “I was going to be the nearly-man of the Commonwealth Games. I was in the mindset tonight that there was no way that was happening.
“I have too many family [members] here. I brought that intensity today. I wanted to go out and show that whole place.
"Everybody knew what I was going to do. What an atmosphere. It's amazing – I finally got that bronze medal. It's a weight off my shoulders and I couldn’t be happier.
“Whenever people say the name of this city, I thought of the hospital, and it was amazing and I'm grateful to it.
“But now when people say Birmingham I think of these games and this city gave me a life - that's the thing. And now I have something to live for."
This summer, Team Scotland, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 250 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Yule took inspiration from both the presence of his daughter Tilly and the heroics of compatriot Eilish McColgan who won gold the night before his competition to match the efforts of her mum and coach Liz.
He explained: “I must have watched that 20 times. In my head, she kicked three times, and that was my three lifts. She fought back when everybody thought she would quit, and she didn't.
"I said: 'That's your three lifts Micky. Get a bit of that McColgan power in you. Where's that grit? Make sure you bring it.'
"I saw her run to her mum, and I thought: 'That's it - her running to her mum is your daughter running to you. Don't dare quit on yourself.”
Powerlifting gave Yule an escape away from the gruelling routine of learning to walk and having over 40 surgeries on his legs, but now he is set to hang up the barbell, having achieved what he set out to do.
“I couldn't just drift through this competition,” he said. “I needed to be emotional. I needed to be mean, more than ever. I needed to lift like it was my last ever lift.
“Elite sport will give you highs and it'll give you lows as well, and I've certainly had them. But this is a high and it feels like a pretty good time to go out.”
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