Quick facts

Birthdate

August 16, 1996

Birthplace

Mississauga, Ont.

Residence

Mississauga, Ont.

Sport

Para Canoe

Experience

Rio 2016

Paris 2024 is the first time Erica Scarff’s category (women’s VL3) will be in the Paralympics which brings gender parity to Para canoe  at the Games.

Scarff, a 2016 Paralympian who missed Tokyo 2020 due to injury, has competed at nine world championships and won her first medal in 2023 with a silver in the VL3 (an outrigger canoe). She just missed the podium at the 2024 worlds placing fourth in the event.

She made an impressive return to form at the 2021 worlds placing fifth in her prime event and was fourth at year later at a home worlds in Dartmouth, N.S. She closed from over two seconds to within less than a second from the podium at those two worlds.

In 2019 she made a brave decision to compete at the worlds despite a serious injury in 2018 and reached the B Final in the women’s KL3.

In 2018, Scarff’s career was completely derailed when she suffered multiple injuries after she was hit by a car in Mississauga, Ont. The scars were both physical and mental, and lingering. When she decided to come back to get a spot for the Tokyo Games, there simply wasn’t enough time to regain her previous form.

In 2016 at age 20, Scarff was Canada’s top female Para kayaker. She competed at the Paralympic Games in Rio – the year Para canoe made its debut on the program – and earned a promising sixth-place finish in the KL3 kayak event. The following year she won a Pan Am title and was fourth at the world championships.

Scarff started paddling in 2013 when it was suggested to her by her current coach Mari Ellery at a prosthetic clinic. Scarff, a gymnast before her amputation, was already into sports as a teenager despite her disability dabbling in swimming, cycling and alpine skiing. She actually had to chose between racing on slopes or on flatwater.

At age 12, Scarff was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer that Terry Fox had. She says she is inspired by how Fox fought the cancer and was able to launch his Marathon of Hope.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

2016 Paralympic Games… 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024 World Championships… Won three gold medals in sit skiing at the 2023 Canada Winter Games in PEI…

PERSONAL

She has an older brother and sister… Studied kinesiology at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont…

NOTABLE INTERNATIONAL RESULTS

  • 2024 World Championships VL3 200-m 4th
  • 2023 World Championships VL3 200-m 2nd
  • 2022 World Championships VL3 200-m 4th
  • 2021 World Championships VL3 200-m 5th
  • 2018 Pan American Championships KL3 200-m 2nd
  • 2018 World Championships KL3 200-m 7th
  • 2017 Pan American Championships VL3 200-m 1st
  • 2017 Pan American Championships KL3 200-m 2nd
  • 2017 World Championships KL3 200-m 4th
  • 2016 Paralympic Games KL3 200-m 7th
  • 2016 World Championships KL3 200-m 6th
  • 2015 World Championships KL3 200-m 7th