Quick facts


September 14, 1962


Victoria, BC


Victoria, BC


Beijing 2008

Rio 2016

In Rio, John McRoberts competed at his fourth Paralympic Games and won the silver medal in the two-person keelboat with his wife Jackie Gay.

McRoberts 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.


1996 (demo sport), 2008 (bronze), 2012, 2016 (silver) 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 Paralympic Games – 2 person keelboat – 2nd

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

Paralympic Medals