As a native of Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, Canadian Paralympic athlete Cindy Ouellet is a huge inspiration at merely the age of 24. During the recent 2011 Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Cindy and her team won the silver medal in Wheelchair Basketball, which qualified them for the London 2012 Paralympics. With the countdown on until the London 2012 Paralympic Games, we caught up with Cindy to find out how she got involved with the sport, and what she’s doing to prep for the upcoming games:
1. How did you get into competitive wheelchair basketball, and how long have you been competing?
I was introduced to wheelchair basketball by my physiotherapist, Francine Bisson in Quebec city, in 2005. After my first Nationals (16 and under) Tim Frick, Team Canada head coach at that time, came to see me and invited me to a senior national camp summer 2005. That same year, I made Team Québec junior and Team Canada senior. I won a gold medal at Canada game 2007 in Yukon. I made Team Canada senior in 2007 and been on the team ever since. I was also part of the Junior National Team in 2009 and the under 25 women national team in 2011.
2. What’s your favourite thing about basketball?
The challenge that each and every game brings. Every second something different is happening and you have to react to it quickly.
3. Who are some of your favourite athletes and how have they motivated you?
Dean Bergeron was an amazing athlete and is a brilliant, perseverant and incredible person. He had a great career as an athlete, he studied and has a really good work career as well. I am extremely lucky to have him as my mentor.
4. What’s different about competing in a new country, as opposed to your own backyard?
The positive energy that your “own” fans can bring during a game is a feeling that has no word for it. My family is amazing and usually follow me everywhere but if I am competing in Canada I can have the support of my family for sure plus my extended family and friends that are also really important.
5. When travelling for competitions, do you make time to explore the places you’re visiting?
We usually have one or two days off when traveling outside of Canada, I try to rest as much as possible but sometime we go as a team to explore the main attraction of the place.
6. You’ve had the chance to compete around the world; which place was most memorable for you?
Beijing, China was really different than anywhere else I have visited. All the Olympics/ Paralympics installation was incredible. The country itself has a lot to see with all the different giant markets, the Wall of China and the Forbidden City.
7. Which place surprised you the most?
Japan. Beautiful landscape everywhere with all the water and bridges
8. Any challenges you face while travelling internationally?
Mostly airports, traveling with a team of 12 people and many have their day chair + their basketball chair.
9. What can’t you live without while travelling?
My headphones, beats from Dr.Dre (I usually bring a couple pairs in case one break), I usually bring my IPad and/or Macbook air for school work. I always have a water bottle and mini green blanket. Most important is to never forget my white toque for travelling!
10. What is the #1 tip/quote you like to live your life by?
Carpe Diem (I have it tattooed on my wrist)
To stay posted on our Canadian Paralympic Athletes, be sure to follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Canadians wanting to buy tickets for the London 2012 Paralympic Games must submit a ticket purchase request to Canada’s authorized ticketing agent, Flight Centre, by phoning: 1-855-450-9499.