2016 Paralympics

By: Leah Kerger - Sep. 06, 2016

 Chantal Givens
Chantal Givens

Chantal Givens, 38, has been named to the Canadian Paralympic Team. (Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba/Submitted to CBC)

Givens is making history competing in the paratriathlon.

The 38-year-old Winnipegger said "it's been a journey" getting to Rio, where the paratriathlon will debut as an Olympic event.

Givens, a physical education teacher, first got an idea of her Paralympic future in 2001 when she volunteered at a triathlon in Edmonton with her springboard diving team.

"It kind of gave me a spark inside that I thought it was an amazing sport and watching how people push themselves and you are going through so many different activities," she said.

Although she did a couple of races, Givens said she didn't know about paratriathlon because it didn't exist yet.

In 2012, she discovered the sport and competed "on a whim" at the nationals in Edmonton.

"I ended up winning that in a sprint event and then my new journey began," she said.

Givens is a now a three-time Canadian paratriathlon champion. The Paralympics have been her goal since that first race, and she wasn't even deterred by a broken shoulder blade suffered a few weeks into the qualifications period.

"It ended up sending me a little bit around the world to get the points I needed the spring of this year," she said.

While healing from the injury, Givens spent some time with Maria Mitousis, the Winnipeg lawyer who lost her hand after a bomb mailed to her office exploded.

Seeing someone face a new challenge kept Givens on track for her own recovery.

"Buckling down, staying focused, not feeling sorry for myself," Givens said.

"Maria really helped me see that reality and focus on little goals at a time."

The women's paratriathlon takes place on Sept. 11.


The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games are just over a week away and CBC/Radio-Canada is ready to bring Canadians up close to all of the thrills and emotion of the athletic competition.

From the opening ceremony on Sept. 7 through to the closing ceremony on Sept. 18, CBC will broadcast more than 1,000 hours of multi-platform coverage, the most of any Paralympics in Canadian history


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