Paralympian spends time in Neepawa


By: Lanny Stewart

Colin Mathieson, an 18-year veteran wheelchair racer on the Canadian Paralympic team, made an appearance in Neepawa on Monday.

Mathieson is one of the newest additions to the RBC (Royal Bank of Canada) Olympians program which hires both Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes as RBC community ambassadors. Mathieson spoke about the Olympic messages of excellence and leadership to those in attendance during his speeches.

During his time in the area, Mathieson visited Hazel M. Kellington school as well as Neepawa Area Collegiate. He also spent some time at Neepawa's Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting on Monday evening.

"I tell a story and it's like it happened yesterday," said Mathieson. "You find yourself telling them in real time and you sit back afterwards and realize it was from 20 years ago. It's fantastic to be able to tell some of these stories."

Mathieson, who has more than 20 Canadian championship titles from 1994 through 2013, says preparing to race in such high profile events is not easy.

"You have a series of short term goals that need to be sort of checked off and by satisfying all the short term stuff, you arrive at the moment where you're at the big show," he explained. "So for example, in four years, I will have four Canadian championships, three world championships and the paralympics the following year. So, year after year, there's always something to peek for."

At 34 years of age, Mathieson says he recently made several changes in his approach and it's helped him become more successful on the race track.

"I changed my coach, I changed my training routine, I changed my facility, I changed my equipment. I changed absolutely everything. For a lack of a better word, it was a bit of a crapshoot and it turned out to be a winning formula. Now I'm thinking I could go a lot longer using this model," he said.

Mathieson was born with spina bifida and has been involved in wheelchair sports since age five and has been a member of Canada's national track and field team since 1995. For the past eight years, he has found himself ranked in the top eight internationally in individual wheelchair racing.

Some of his achievements include a gold medal win at the 2006 world championships and a third place finish at the 1996 Paralympics. Mathieson, who resides in Winnipeg, is also close to earning a social work degree.

In photo: Colin Mathieson speaks to the kids in attendance at Hazel M. Kellington school in Neepawa on Monday.

Photo by John Drinkwater