Born with spina bifida, sport has been the passion in Chris Stoddart’s life.
The wheelchair racer from Arthur, Ont. competed at three Paralympics earning two bronze medals at the 1976 Games in Toronto (in the 800m and slalom races) and a silver in Stoke Mandeville, England in 1984 in the slalom. He also raced at the 1972 Paralympics in Heidelberg, Germany.
Stoddart says he compiled six gold, one silver and five bronze in international competition and once held world records in the 100, 400, 800 and 1500m events in his category. He won gold in slalom at the 1987 world championships.
He’s been very active in sport his entire life, and below we check in with Stoddart on his favourite memories.
What did it mean to you to be able to represent Canada at the Paralympic Games?
Being born with spina bifida I never dreamed I would have the unbelievable honour of representing my country on the world stage. The love of Canadians by others around the world still warms my heart.
What are some of your favourite memories from competing for Canada?
All the friends I met during my years of competing in track, basketball, and sledge hockey through the years. And of course meeting my future wife through wheelchair sports. Sitting on the podium regardless of the colour and basking in a personal job well done.
What is your proudest sporting achievement from your career?
The journey from winning a bronze in Toronto in 1976 in the slalom to moving up to a silver in 1984 and finally sitting on top of the podium in England in 1987.
What are you up to now?
After retiring from track in 1990, I relaxed and went fishing in the Kawarthas. In 1998, I began playing sledge hockey with the Markham Islanders and was still playing when the pandemic hit.
What message would you share with current athletes on the road to the Paralympic Games?
Enjoy the process. Put in as much time and effort that you can and rejoice every time you achieve a personal best. Trophies and medals are the icing on the cake.
Current TV show you are binge-watching: Prodigal Son and Oak Island
Favourite Activity: Sledge Hockey
Who were your heroes growing up: Hockey play-by-play announcers Foster Hewitt and Bill Hewitt
Favorite Emoji: 🙄
Favourite Hobby: Fishing
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.
Simon Richard – Goalball
Kirstie Kasko – Para Swimming
Paul Clark – Para Athletics
Tim McIsaac - Para Swimming
Sarah Mailhot - Para Swimming
Patrice Bonneau - Para Cycling
Michelle Salt - Para Snowboard
Karolina Wisniewska - Para Alpine Skiing
Andrew Haley - Para Swimming
Amy Alsop - Goalball