With the summer Rio 2016 Paralympics less than two months away, here are the seven Canadians to watch, voted by the International Paralympic Committee.
Zak Madell – Wheelchair Rugby
The 21-year-old from Alberta is the top scorer for Canada and has seen his fair share of national attention over his young career, having been selected as Canada’s flag bearer for the 2015 Pan Am Games closing ceremony. Madell scored 34 goals in Canada’s 57-54 win over the US in the competition. Canada currently ranks number one in the world and hopes to beat out its rivals in the US and Australia in Rio.
Stefan Daniel – Triathlon
Daniel won the 2015 triathlon world championship in the men’s PT4 division, placing first in Chicago last fall. He has won events in London and Edmonton and medaled in the past three world competitions. His biggest rival is Martin Schulz, who held the world title from June 2013 until Daniel won last fall.
Brent Lakatos – Wheelchair Racing
Lakatos has won medal after medal for the past ten years with seemingly no end in sight, winning three gold medals and one silver at the 2015 IPC World Championships in Doha and three gold at last year’s Parapan Am Games in Toronto. His main rival is China’s Huzhao Li, who handed Lakatos his only silver by beating him in Doha.
Janet McLachlan – Wheelchair Basketball
McLachlan led Canada to silver at the 2015 Parapan Am Games, leading the team in scoring and coming in second in assists. She will try to lead Canada past Germany, Australia, and the Netherlands in Rio.
Aurelie Rivard – Swimming
Rivard was a star for Canada’s para-swim team at the Parapan Am Games, winning seven gold medals and setting a world record in the 100-metre freestyle. Last year, she also won two world titles at the IPC World Swimming Championships in Glasgow. Her competition includes Sophie Pascoe of New Zealand, who won three titles in Glasgow.
Benoit Huot – Swimming
Canada’s best-known Paralympian has won 19 medals in the past four Paralympics. He will look to defend gold in the 200-metre individual medley. Huot’s longtime-rival is Brazil’s Andre Brasil, who won three gold at the London Paralympics.
Marco Dispaltro – Boccia
Nicknamed the “Gordie Howe of boccia”, Dispaltro will go into Rio as Canada’s oldest boccia player, at 48. He was Canada’s flag bearer at the Parapan Am opening ceremony in Toronto, where he won silver in the pairs event alongside Alison Levine and Caroline Vietnieks. He currently sits second in the world, behind Yuk Wing Leung of Hong Kong, who has participated in three Paralympics.