With the 2024 Paralympics a year away, here is a look at 10 Canadian athletes who could find themselves on the podium in Paris:
Aurelie Rivard, swimming
Five-time Paralympic freestyle champion and double gold medallist at the Tokyo Paralympics, the 27-year-old from Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., holds world records in four events in S10 classification (left hand impairment).
Nate Riech, track and field
Reigning Paralympic and world champion and world-record holder in the men’s 1,500 T38 (co-ordination impairment), the 28-year-old from Victoria has been unbeatable in major events since 2018.
Brent Lakatos, track and field
Veteran wheelchair racer from Dorval, Que., is the reigning world champion in the 800 metres. The 43-year-old owns a career 11 Paralympic medals, including four silver from Tokyo.
Stefan Daniel, triathlon
Five-time world champion won Paralympic silver in 2016 and bronze in Tokyo. The 26-year-old Calgarian, who was born with bilateral radial club hands, took bronze in a Paris test event Aug. 19.
Danielle Doris, swimming
Broke the world record twice en route to claiming Paralympic gold in the 50-metre butterfly S7 (limited leg function or amputee) in Tokyo. The 20-year-old from Moncton was a double gold medallist at the world championship in Manchester, England, earlier this month with victories in her signature event and 100-metre backstroke.
Nathan Clement, cycling
Former para swimmer who reached the final of the 50-metre butterfly in Rio in 2016, the 28-year-old from West Vancouver, B.C., has since switched to cycling. Clement won his first career world title this month in Glasgow, Scotland in the men’s T1 (balance and locomotion impairments).
Melanie Labelle, wheelchair rugby
The only woman in Canada’s national team pool of players. While wheelchair rugby is “mixed gender”, men have historically dominated teams with just four women competing in Tokyo’s eight-country tournament. The 38-year-old Labelle from St-Hubert, Que., was selected to the national team program in 2019 just three years after breaking her neck while swing dancing.
Patrick Anderson, wheelchair basketball
Widely known as the “Michael Jordan of wheelchair basketball”, the 44-year-old musician from Fergus, Ont., has helped Canada win three Paralympic gold medals (2000, 2004, 2012) and a silver (2008), and led the tournament in scoring in London in 2012.
Nicholas Bennett, swimming
The 19-year-old from Parksville, B.C., doubled up on gold medals at the world para swim championship in Manchester in the 200-metre freestyle and individual medley. Bennett, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at a young age, added a silver medal in 100-metre breaststroke to his tally.
Kate O’Brien, track cycling
Raced for Canada’s Olympic team in Rio in 2016 a year before a velodrome crash left her with a brain injury and broken bones. The 34-year-old Calgarian won Paralympic time trial silver in Tokyo in C4-5 (leg co-ordination limitations) and her second career world championship time trial silver medal earlier this month in Glasgow, Scotland.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 28, 2023.