After making his Paralympic debut in goalball at the Rio 2016 Games, 26-year-old Simon Richard has stayed busy ever since.
The Dieppe, N.B. native, who made his major Games debut at the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games, has switched to a new sport and is working to grow Para sport in his home province.
Below we check in with Simon to learn about his favourite memories and what he’s been up to recently:
What did it mean to you to be able to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games?
“I started to dream about the Paralympic Games at 12 years old. I just missed out on my original goal of making the team for the 2012 London Paralympic Games, but it just gave me more fuel to keep pushing myself harder to be the best athlete as I could be. When I was selected for the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games it was literally a dream that came true. It was and always is a true honour to wear that maple leaf on your jersey. We really feel that the whole nation is behind us. I cherished every moment at the Games.”
What are some of your favourite memories from competing for Canada?
“My favourite memories are with my teammates, coaches, and family after a big win for Canada. You can feel the support from the other end of the world as your phone blows up with text messages from friends and family from coast to coast. It’s an incredible feeling to represent our country and we are all in this together. We win together as a country, and we will always have these memories together.”
What is your proudest sporting achievement from your career?
“It’s a very tough question to answer as I am proud of the whole journey, but I would say that my proudest sporting achievement would be when we won bronze at the 2015 Parapan Am Games in Toronto. My whole family was there and to be able to share the moment with them and the rest of the Canadians in the stadium was very special. All Canadians are in this together!”
What are you up to now?
“I have really enjoyed my time playing goalball, but I have decided to give myself another challenge by playing blind hockey and help where I can to grow the sport. I have now been on the Canadian blind hockey national team for the last two years. The goal would be to grow the sport enough to compete at the Winter Paralympic Games and hopefully bring the gold medal back to Canada in the future. In my professional career I am also program coordinator at Parasport New Brunswick. We are trying to grow all the Paralympic sports in the province so that more kids and adults get to play and have a positive experience in Para sports.”
What message would you like to share to current athletes on the road to the Tokyo Paralympic Games?
“I would like to share with the athletes that are preparing for the Games to soak in every moment. The Games got pushed back because of the COVID-19 pandemic but every day in between now and then is also an opportunity to get better. Keep focusing on what you can control and you will be great.”
Current TV show you are binge-watching: The Last Kingdom
Favorite fall/winter activity: Playing hockey/blind hockey
Hero: Sidney Crosby, Mario Caron
Celebrity you would most want to have dinner with: Wayne Gretzky
Most used emoji: 🙂 smiley face!
Favourite hobby: I love sharpening my skills on the ice but when I am not training I love to listen to some podcasts
Any favourite mottos or words to live by: My personal motto that I adapt to anything in life is “One thing at a time, one day at a time!”
Each month ‘where are they now’ will feature a different member of the Canadian Paralympic alumni community to hear some of their favourite memories and check in to find out what they’re up to now.