Canada's Paralympians soared to new heights in the 2010s
Canadian athletes had their most successful decade ever at the Winter Paralympics
Canada experienced a resurgence of sorts at the Paralympics this past decade.
Simply put, Canada's winter athletes have been on a tear this decade, outdoing their summer counterparts at London and Rio by a combined 60 medals.
And behind those medals are some memorable athletes.
Vancouver 2010 could've been McKeever's signature moment. The first Canadian to be named to both the Olympic and Paralympic teams, McKeever was set to compete in the Olympic 50-kilometre cross-country race. But a last-second coaching decision saw the legally blind McKeever replaced by another member of the team, denying him of the chance to become the first-ever athlete to accomplish this historic feat.
WATCH | McKeever clinches Canada's best Winter Paralympic showing ever:
However, McKeever still authored plenty signature moments, including a Canadian record 17 career Winter Paralympic medals—four clear of anyone else.
McKeever also owns three triple gold-medal sweeps, with wins in sprint, 10k and 20k freestyle at Vancouver, Sochi and Pyeongchang.
Now 38, Woolstencroft competed in only one Paralympic Games this decade. Her third and final Games came in Vancouver, near the para skier's home of Calgary. She competed in five events in 2010, all standing: downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and super combined.
The results: five gold medals, to match a Canadian record for a single Olympic or Paralympic Games. And she did it on home soil.
Woolstencroft was named the closing flag-bearer in Vancouver, and retired from the sport shortly after. She now works as an electrical engineer, and has a three-year-old son named Max.
WATCH | The best Canadian Paralympic moments of the 2010s:
The Montreal native owned para athletics this decade. In 2010, Lakatos was just beginning to break out. His performance in Beijing in 2008 yielded no medals, but a pair of fifth-placed finishes in individual races heralded the success to come.
Now 39, Lakatos officially arrived with two medals at the 2011 worlds before snatching three silvers at the 2012 Paralympics in London. He then ripped one of the most dominant stretches in sports: winning 14 gold from his next 18 world and Paralympic podiums. The final tally for the decade: seven medals over a pair of Summer Games.
WATCH | Lakatos wins his 13th career World Para Athletic gold medal:
Perhaps Lakatos' greatest accomplishment of the decade is the fact that he'll exit as the owner of a startling four world records in the 100, 200, 800 and 1,500 T-53 events. That's how you own a sport.
Of all the individuals on this list, Rivard has the best shot of leveling up once more in the 2020s. The 23-year-old St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., native burst onto the swimming scene at the 2012 Paralympics with a surprising silver medal in the 400-metre freestyle.
Turns out Rivard was here to stay. She followed up her London performance with another three medals at the 2016 Games in Brazil—all gold. That was enough to earn her a nomination for the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete that year (eventually given to fellow swimmer Penny Oleksiak).
WATCH | Rivard wins 3rd gold in Rio:
Rivard exited the 2016 Games with two world records. She'll enter the next decade a favourite to earn even more.
Victoria's Jim Armstrong, now 69, skipped Canada's wheelchair curling team to Paralympic gold in Vancouver, then followed up with another win in 2014 in Sochi. Mark Ideson, 43, from Parry Sound, Ont., took over as skip in 2018, but experienced the same letdown as every other Canadian curler in Pyeongchang. Canada wound up with bronze after a semifinal upset loss to eventual champion China.
WATCH | Ideson's miracle shot from the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Games:
Still, that loss was just by one point, and Ideson's rink rallied for a win over host South Korea to clinch the podium. Canada's curling dominance may have waned, but the nation's wheelchair athletes were undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the 2010s.