Andrea’s Story

Growing up I always competed with my classmates in athletics- I was oblivious to my differing ability. It wasn’t until 2002 that I realized that my disability provided some challenges that needed a new playing field. I learned about the Paralympic Games and immediately wanted to compete in Track and Field. My father, also a competitive athlete, pushed me to achieve my dreams and supported me all along the way. The high jump was always my strength at school however when I realized that this discipline was not in the competition for the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, I changed to long jump. I achieved 8th place in the world with my season’s best performance!

I retired from competition in 2007 but as fate would have it the Paralympic Games didn’t end for me there. I was nominated and selected to be a torch bearer for the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games! One of the most amazing experiences of my life was running into that stadium with 80,000 people cheering, and hearing the national anthem being played. I felt so proud to be Canadian at that global event. Truly, when one door closes another one opens.

These experiences tell me that nothing is impossible. My family have been my biggest influence and always supported my wish to compete at the highest level. One experience leads to another and now I have the opportunity to talk to lots of people everyday. If I can help influence other people with disabilities to understand all their choices and reach for their own dreams, then all the effort is worthwhile. I truly believe imperfection is perfection.