Nate Riech trying to find “silver lining”

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 09, 2020

''At this point training should be fun.''

Nate Riech celebrates after winning the gold medal in men's 1500m

Middle distance runner Nate Riech knows he is bit more fortunate than some athletes in other sports during the COVID-19 crisis.

He can still practice his sport whether it is by himself at his training track or even on the mostly deserted streets of Victoria where he resides. Still COVID- 19 has made life quite different for the world record holder in the men’s T38 1500m.

“I can’t live like I used to so I’m still trying to stay safe,” said Riech in an interview with Benoit Huot. “I don’t go outside for anything other than training.” 

The 25-year-old who is continuing a great family tradition of sporting excellence (his parents were national team track and field athletes and his grandfather played in the NHL) is coached by Heather Hennigar who is not allowed to be with him during this crisis. 

“I’m completely solo,” Riech said, whose right side of the body is affected from a brain injury at age 10. “I haven’t seen my coach or teammates for two weeks. It’s for the best but it’s tough from a social aspect. But we use the technology to chat to figure out what I want to do. Because at this point training should be fun and the less stressful part of your day.” 

After bursting on the international scene in 2018, Riech blew the doors down last season with more world record performances and the gold medal in the 1500m at both the world championships and Parapan American Games.

With the wind in his sails, Riech admits it was hard to hear the news that a participation at his first Paralympic Games would be postponed a year.

“When Canada made that announcement that it wasn’t going to go in 2020 regardless, I was pretty numb for about 48 hours,” he said. “But now my outlook is really good. I’m just focusing on the day, trying to find the silver lining in everything. 

“For me that is my family is safe and I’m able to train. I can’t control this virus, I can only control what I put in day in and day out.”

There is no doubt, Riech has shown the resiliency that he can handle a year’s delay in his quest for Paralympic Games gold.

Riech graffiti eng

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