Paralympic sport, in Canada and around the world, owes a huge debt to the three individuals named to the 2015 Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame in the builder category. Audrey Strom of Winnipeg, Donald Royer of Sherbrooke, Que., and the late Gary McPherson of Edmonton made it their life missions to help developing parasports gain elite status.
In his 40-year career, Royer has impacted many sports –whether in the thick of the action as a coach, referee, judge or behind the scenes as a researcher and board member. His parasport involvement started in 1977 in wheelchair basketball and through the years he has worked in para-athletics, powerlifting and wheelchair rugby. Royer has served at numerous international events including 13 Paralympic Games. Canada hasn’t been the only beneficiary of his expertise. He’s run training camps and clinics in a dozen countries.
Strom’s stuck mainly to para-swimming in her brilliant career. She convinced national and international officials to approve the tapping system for blind swimmers developed with her late husband Wilf Strom (also an inductee this year in the coach’s category). For visually impaired swimmers she also produced the first coaching materials and resources, wrote the first official rules and secured the first card funding from Sport Canada.
McPherson is a member of the Edmonton and Alberta Sports Halls of Fame. He spent 20 years in wheelchair sports administration including eight as president of the Canadian Wheelchair Sport Association (CWSA). He received the Order of Canada in 2003.
Royer, Strom and McPherson are part of a magnificent group of seven being inducted in to the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame for 2015. They will be officially celebrated at a Gala on November 27 in Ottawa. Tickets are available for purchase at paralympic.ca/canadian-paralympic-hall-of-fame.