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Obstacles & Opportunities

1
May 2022

Ina Forrest

Ina Forrest is a four-time Paralympic Wheelchair Curler! At her first Paralympic games on home soil at Vancouver 2010, the team won GOLD. Most recently at Beijing 2022, they brought home the bronze medal AND Ina was one of Canada’s flag bearers for the opening ceremonies!

When Ina was 21, she became paralyzed after the vehicle she was driving in was hit by an impaired driver. She wasn’t introduced to wheelchair curling until she was 42 years old, and she’s now one of the most decorated wheelchair curlers in the WORLD!

Ina and her husband live in BC where they run their own business and raised their three kids who are now adults!

We loved having insight into Ina’s mindset, hearing about her adventures, and learning more about wheelchair curling!

Fair warning, the audio isn’t the best… but the conversation still is, so we hope you enjoy!

7
Apr 2022

The Boulet Family (re-release)

It’s Green Shirt Day! We are re-sharing last year's conversation with the Boulet family. New year and new episode art… same conversation, same beautiful family.

Today—April 7th—is Green Shirt Day, and we had the pleasure of chatting with Logan Boulet’s family. Logan is the inspiration behind Green Shirt Day and the Logan Boulet Effect. On April 6, 2018, the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus was involved in a crash that shattered the hearts of Canadians. 16 of the 29 passengers on the Humboldt team bus lost their lives in the crash, and Logan was one of them. He succumbed to his injuries on April 7th, 2018. Following his passing, his organs saved or enhanced the lives of six other Canadians. This sparked organ donation across Canada which became known as the Logan Boulet Effect. Now April 7th is known as Green Shirt Day—a day to bring awareness to organ donation, and the impact that Logan’s decision to donate his organs had on a nation. 

We get to know to Logan’s parents, Toby & Bernie, and his sister, Mariko. They share their own athletic histories, their favourite memories of Logan, and Logan’s unplanned legacy. The Boulets are the most beautiful and authentic family, and we hope you get as much out of our conversation as we did!

Visit https://greenshirtday.ca/ to register for organ donation, and let your loved ones know about your decision!

13
Mar 2022

Jessica Tuomela

Four-time Paralympian Jessica Tuomela is here! Jessica started out as a swimmer, and most recently competed in triathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Jessica—who lost her sight by the age of three as a result of retinoblastoma—tells us about overcoming her fear of deep water, how she got into competitive swimming, and the transition to triathlon.

Sport is just a small part of Jessica’s story, though. It seems as though she’s lived seventeen lives. She has incredible stories to share, and an amazing sense of humour. We loved every second of our time with this spitfire, and we hope you do too!

6
Feb 2022

Taylor Austin

First time Olympic bobsledder Taylor Austin is here! He’ll be piloting two and four-man sleds for Team Canada at Beijing 2022! 

Taylor was born and raised in Lethbridge, Alberta. He moved to Calgary after graduating in 2008, and played football for the Calgary Colts before being recruited to bobsledding.

We had a blast getting to know Taylor, and learning the intricacies of bobsledding!

He’ll be competing in Beijing in the two-man sled on Feb 14 & 15, and the four-man on the Feb 19 & 20. We’ll be screaming our faces off cheering his team on in Beijing, and we hope you will be too!

 

@taytay_lloyd on Instagram… give him a follow!

28
Nov 2021

Marie-Claude Molnar

Marie-Claude Molnar is Paralympic cyclist and World Champion!

When MC was just 21, she was hit from behind by a vehicle traveling 110km/hr. She sustained head trauma in addition other serious injuries.

Her positivity, resilience, go-getter attitude and athletic ability propelled her in para-sport. She shares the mindset of a champion, and what keeps her going in the hardest part of a race. Her motto is never stop being a seeker, and take action!

We hope you enjoy Marie-Claude’s story & her many pearls of wisdom as much as we did!

Find Marie-Claude at @mariecmolnar on the socials!

14
Nov 2021

Greg Stewart

Greg Stewart is a Paralympic shot put CHAMPION! He earned his gold medal and the Paralympic record at the Tokyo 2020 Games, and he’s here to tell us all about it.

Greg is extraordinarily athletic, and has excelled in a variety of sports—both para and able bodied. He was born without his left forearm, and it wasn’t until he was 28 years old that he became comfortable identifying as a disabled person.

Greg is an empowerment coach, and he and Psychologist Lowell connected on a deep and insightful level. Greg even took us through an activity illustrating the importance of being in the moment and trusting the process.

He chatted with us from his home in Kamloops, BC. Greg shared a lot of wisdom in general, and also encouraged those who are struggling to reach out.

Hope you enjoy our conversation!

Keep your eyes and ears open for Greg’s podcast, Mental-ete, coming in January!! @greg_r_stewart on Instagram!

31
Oct 2021

Shawna Ryan

Shawna Ryan is a Paralympic cyclist AND goal ball player. She’s had low vision all her life as a result of being born with cataracts. She wasn’t introduced to parasport until the age of 28, and it gave her a place to belong and race without fear.

As a child, Shawna’s sister passed away, and later she lost her step dad to suicide. She now uses her experiences with grief and loss to help others.

Shawna went through a different form of grief & loss when she retired from para sport, and she takes us through the complex emotions that followed.

Shawna has a positive and infectious energy, and a knack for encouraging others. She’s wise, kind, fun, and an excellent story teller!

As Shawna would say—be brave and have fun! Also, enjoy our conversation!

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!

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