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Obstacles & Opportunities

10
Oct 2021

Jason Smyth

The fastest Paralympian on EARTH is here!! Jason Smyth is a FOUR-TIME Paralympic gold medalist in the 100-meter sprint, and he chatted with us from his home in Ireland!

As a result of Stargardt’s disease, Jason has lost all of his central vision, and has about 5-10% of his peripheral vision left. He tells us about the mindset of a blind sprinter, his insane race experience in Tokyo, and the power of sport in his life. Jason and Lowell bond over the importance of a good sense of humour, and even swap embarrassing blind guy stories!

Thanks for the amazing conversation, Jason, and we hope you all enjoy!

26
Sep 2021

Ross Bekkering

Olympic basketball player Ross Bekkering is here! Ross is a born-and-raised Southern Albertan with a Dutch passport. He just represented the Netherlands playing 3x3 basketball at the Tokyo 2020 Games!

After we talk about how the 1999 school shooting at WR Myers in Taber impacted him, we get a nice overview of Ross’ life with fun stories AND pearls of wisdom sprinkled throughout. We chat basketball, family, life, inspirations, and living between Europe & Canada while playing pro basketball and pursuing a career.

So many golden nuggets from Ross and his elite athlete mindset today! To name a FEW… The power of connection and community. The value of encouraging others—no matter how small & insignificant it may seem. The gift of a challenge, and that discomfort is directly connected to growth.

Ross is so authentic & articulate, and it’s too bad that this isn’t a visual medium because when he throws his head back in genuine laughter, it’s the most delightful and contagious thing ever.  

Ross is currently a high school teacher in Lethbridge, and expecting his first child with his amazing wife, Carli!

We hope you enjoy our conversation!

12
Sep 2021

Stu Starkey

Stu Starkey is blind as the result of a degenerative condition called Choroideremia. He started losing his sight in his twenties, and para sport taught him that he didn’t have to be ashamed of his vision loss.

Stu started out in able bodied swimming, and competed in rowing and para triathlon. ALSO, he’s legit a genius, and pours his brain power—AND heart—into the moving company Two Small Men with Big Hearts. Stu is passionate about giving back to the community—which is the motivation behind HIS podcast Community of Big Hearts (which you should probably subscribe and listen to!).

Stu lives in Winnipeg with his amazing wife, Lillian, and daughter, Collins. He’s a super fascinating human, and we hope you enjoy our conversation!

29
Aug 2021

Keely Shaw

Keely Shaw is a Paralympic cyclist who won Canada’s first medal of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games—a bronze! She has two more races coming up, and she graciously took the time to chat with us FROM TOKYO.

Keely’s story is a roller coaster! Dreams of playing Olympic hockey, a fall from a horse, a brain injury resulting in left-sided weakness, and struggles with disordered eating. Keely’s determination shines through, and once she discovered para sport, there was no stopping her. She began her cycling career in 2017, and found her first World Championships podium in 2019!

Not only is Keely an elite cyclist, she’s also working on her PhD… pretty much specializing in sport and chocolate. For real.

Keely shared her incredible story with us as well as valuable lessons learned along the way. Enjoy our conversation, and best of luck with your next races, Keely!

Episode art adapted from image by Jean Baptiste.

@keelyshaw10 on Instagram and @keelyshaw14 on Twitter :)

22
Aug 2021

Stefan Daniel

Stefan Daniel is a Paralympic triathlete who is ready to compete at the Tokyo Paralympic Games! He earned a silver medal at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, and we can’t wait to see what he does in Tokyo.

Stefan was born with bilateral radial club hands. With the support and encouragement of his incredibly active family, Stefan not only found sport… but dominated.

On top of Stefan’s several World Championship & World Cup podium finishes, Stefan was also the able-bodied Canadian Junior triathlon champion in 2015!

In addition to successfully competing on the highest level stage for para triathlon, he’s also super competitive in able-bodied cross country racing, and runs for the University of Calgary cross country team.

We loved learning more about Stefan’s life and love of family and sport… we hope you do too!

@stefandaniel97 on Instagram and @sdaniel97 on Twitter :)

15
Aug 2021

Ryan Lachapelle

Ryan Lachapelle—Amazing Race Canada brother, avid skier, and adventurer extraordinaire! He—along with best friend Kenneth McAlpine—competed on season 5 of the Amazing Race Canada as Team GIVE’R… and promptly won the hearts of Canadians.

Devastatingly, Kenneth passed away in a hiking accident on August 26, 2019. Ryan is open about how this loss impacted him, and how he continues to live every day to the fullest and channel his GIVE’R energy.

Ryan is the events coordinator at RED Mountain Resort in Rossland, BC, but we caught up with him while he was visiting his hometown of Collingwood, Ontario. We had a blast learning more about Ryan, and of COURSE we also had to sneak in some Amazing Race chit chat!

Enjoy!

Support the Team GIVE’R Foundation that Ryan founded in memory of Kenny here: https://www.teamgiver.ca/

Ryan’s Instagram handle: @ryangiver

Episode art created using photo by Ashley Voykin (@ashvoykin on instagram) :)

25
Jul 2021

Marc Mundell

Marc Mundell is an Olympic Race Walker. He’s currently living in Canada, but will be representing his home country of South Africa at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games!

This will be Marc’s third Olympic Games, and he’s currently the South African national record holder for the 50km race walking event, as well as the continental record holder (for the same event)!

Marc gives us the low down on his race walking career and his plethora of experiences along the way. He’s such an interesting, wise, and well-spoken man, and we can’t wait to cheer him on—along with Canadians Evan Dunfee & Mathieu Bilodeau—in the 50km race walk event on August 6th in Tokyo!

@marcmundell on Instagram & Twitter.

18
Jul 2021

Haley Smith & Andrew L’Esperance

Married duo Haley Smith and Andrew L’Esperance (aka Lespy) are professional mountain bikers. They both ride for Norco Factory Team as well as the Canadian National Team, and Haley is CURRENTLY in Tokyo ready to represent Canada at her first Olympic Games!

We caught up with Haley & Lespy last week while they were in Andorra prepping for the upcoming Games.

In this conversation, we learn about the beauty that is these incredible humans, as well their amazing partnership. Haley is a REAL Role Model for Fast & Female as well as a mental health advocate. She’s very honest about her ongoing journey with mental health.

Lespy is on the Athlete’s Council for Cycling Canada, and is one of Haley’s main supports. Together, these two travel the globe racing and training!

Keep your eyeballs on the television as Haley competes at the Tokyo Olympic Games on July 27th. Whatever the outcome, Haley, we hope you have an absolute blast!

https://www.haleyhuntersmith.com/

@haleyhuntersmith & @andrewlespy on Insta

@hale_smith & @andrewlespy on Twitter.

Episode art created using photo by Andy Vathis. Thanks Andy! :)

11
Jul 2021

Michelle Salt

Michelle Salt is a Paralympic Snowboarder. Her right leg was amputated above the knee following a near-fatal motorcycle crash in 2011. Michelle represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in Sochi in 2014, and PyeongChang in 2018.

Prior to her accident, Michelle competed as a fitness model in the NPAA, and three years after her accident, she returned to the Fitness Stage! More recently, she has been an advocate for adaptive wakesurfing.

Michelle is raw and honest throughout this conversation. She talks about the highs and lows of participating in competitive sport, her desire to belong, and her experience with depression, suicidal ideation, and discovering the healthiest version of herself. We hope you are as inspired by her courage, honesty & resilience as we were.

https://www.michellessalt.com/

@parashredder on Instagram!

27
Jun 2021

Adam van Koeverden

From podium to politics, Adam van Koeverden is an Olympic kayaking champion and politician. Adam attended four Olympic Games, and earned Olympic medals and World Championships GALORE throughout his athletic career. He retired from competitive sport after representing Canada one last time at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

In 2019, Adam was elected as the Member of Parliament for Milton, Ontario representing the Liberal Party. He values empathy, advocacy, listening, and humility.

Adam shares the impact that kayaking & nature has had on his life, his continued passion for sport & inclusion, his political roles, and his love & vision for Canada. Bonus points for Adam—his girlfriend, Emily, is a Speech Pathologist like me. :) We had a lot of fun with Adam. Enjoy!

 

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