John McRoberts

John McRoberts


In Rio, John McRoberts will be competing in his fourth Paralympic Games. He won a bronze medal in the two-person keelboat event at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games with Stacie Louttit and placed fourth at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He also sailed at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, winning silver, when sailing was a demonstration sport.

McRoberts was left a quadriplegic with limited arm movement at age 18 after diving into shallow water in Lake Erie. He learned to sail as a child, but his real passion was soccer, prior to his injury in 1981. He had sailed as a teenager and says he felt “like a duck out of water’’ when he moved to Victoria at age 30. McRoberts uses special poles to steer the boat.

Coming from a sporting family, McRoberts was always looking for a place he could shine, competing as a road racer and in wheelchair rugby before finding sailing again in the 1990s.

“Disabled sailing was in its early days then,” he says. “We have come so far, from strapping ourselves in any old tub to the bespoke high-performance boats we sail today. It's amazing to be a part of this story and we're nowhere near finished yet. What I love most about sailing is that out there I am a racer, the same as anyone else. With the right equipment anything is possible.”

McRoberts qualified for Rio with wife, Jackie Gay, in the SKUD-18 class. They were both honoured as 2013 Sail Canada Team of the Year.


Raced at the 1996 Atlanta Paralympic Games when sailing was a demonstration sport, bronze medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, fourth place at London 2012 Paralympic Games.


McRoberts loves the outdoors. Apart from sailing, he also enjoys fishing for pacific salmon, walking his dog, birdwatching, and just generally being outside.


2016 Delta Lloyd Regatta – 5th
2016 Garda Olympic Week – 3rd
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami – SKUD18 – 6th
2012 Paralympic Games – SKUD18 – 4th
2008 Paralympic Games – SKUD18 – 3rd
1996 Paralympic Games – Crewboat – 2nd demonstration



1996 Atlanta ParalympicsSailing Crewboat - Mengold
2016 Rio ParalympicsSailing Keelboat - 2 person (SKUD18)silver
2008 Beijing ParalympicsSailing 2-person keelboat (SKUD18)bronze


Games Sport Event Result
2016 Rio Paralympics Sailing Keelboat - 2 person (SKUD18) 2
2012 London Paralympics Sailing 2-person keelboat (SKUD18) 4
2008 Beijing Paralympics Sailing 2-person keelboat (SKUD18) 3
1996 Atlanta Paralympics Sailing Crewboat - Mixed 2
1996 Atlanta Paralympics Sailing Crewboat - Men 1