With the Rio Paralympic games just two months away, we’ve been following all the latest sporting news. And, if you’ve been following our blog, you’ve likely already read a little bit about the upcoming games, particularly the sports of sitting volleyball and wheelchair fencing.
This time we want to share the story of a U.S. Navy veteran and three-time Paralympic athlete and medal winner, Will Groulx, and his move from wheelchair rugby to handcycling.
From Wheelchair Rugby Fame
The 42-year-old veteran served in the Navy from 1995 to 2001, when he injured his spinal cord in a motorcycle accident. He joined the U.S. wheelchair rugby team in winning a bronze medal at the Athens games in 2004, winning a gold medal at the Beijing games in 2008, and another bronze medal at the London games in 2012. Groulx was also nominated for an ESPY Award in 2009 for Best Male Athlete with a Disability.
Making the Move to Handcycling
With all the success Groulx has had within the wheelchair rugby sport, why would he be making the switch to another sport? For him, the answer is simple: his family.
In a recent article about trading his rugby gear for handcycling, Groulx said, “With cycling, I have a lot more control over when I train and the competitions I go to. I can pick and choose that more, and do that around my family’s schedule.” He also said, “As much as I want to be the best competitor that I am on the bike, I also want to make sure that I’m the best dad that I can be for my kids.”
In fact, he spends time with his six-year-old daughter, Grace, while he’s training and she acts as his cycling coach. He says he knows he’s in good hands with her as his coach because she puts pressure on him and reminds him that he needs to bring home medals from his new gig.
Hopefully she can see his dedication, since he’s already brought home eight championship wins in the past three years, and will be trying out for the upcoming Rio Paralympic games.
Cheering for a Champion
As the games in Rio draw nearer, we’ll be waiting, watching, and cheering for Groulx from our new wheelchair vans headquarters in the heart of Minnesota.
Will you be following the action? Comment below and let us know which part of the games you’re most looking forward to!