Paralympians get personal in Team Canada Champion Chats

Canadian Paralympic Committee

October 29, 2020

‘’We are relying on leaders to be role models and mentors more than ever’’

Amanda Rummery

The topics for the final Team Canada Champion Chats session of the year centred on leadership, teamwork and community, and the participating athletes provided valuable personal insight into their experiences in those areas during Wednesday’s live chat. 

Twenty-time Paralympic Games medallist Benoit Huot was host of the French chat, which featured Para athletes Mélanie Labelle (wheelchair rugby) and world champion runner Guillaume Ouellet. Olympic figure skater Tessa Virtue took on hosting duties for the English chat, which included Para runner Amanda Rummery and Jessica Tuomela (triathlon).

Rummery was injured in 2015 and her left arm amputated in 2018. She credited her coach Maegan Ciesielski’s leadership in her fast development to national team status. A member of the Parapan Am Games and world championships teams in 2019 she hopes to be in Tokyo next summer.

She paid tribute to teachers as being leaders in their communities.

‘’With all the uncertainty with COVID, we are relying on leaders to be role models and mentors more than ever for us,” said Rummery. ‘’The teachers, with how much they’ve had to adapt this school year, with all the uncertainty, I think they are remarkable leaders right now in our communities educating our youth which is so important.’’

Team Canada Champion Chats is a nationwide education program which provides an opportunity for athletes speak to kids, parents, and teachers about the experiences and lessons that have helped them become the world’s best.

Tuomela, a three-time Paralympian in swimming who returned to sport as a triathlete after a near-decade hiatus in 2018, says it’s the accumulation of small gestures that develops leadership.

‘’It’s about being your best self,’’ said the visually impaired athlete. ‘’It can be as simple as smiling or waving at a neighbour or showing kindness and patience. 

‘’What we do matters.’’

Team Canada Champion Chats is a joint partnership between the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, and Classroom Champions. Click here for more information. 

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