Player's Own Voice

Player's Own Voice podcast: Cindy Ouellet sets the standard

Player's Own Voice podcast is looking ahead to a story-lover's treasure chest: The Paralympics promise more human drama than ever.

Captain of the women's wheelchair basketball team leads by example

Canada's Cindy Ouellet, centre, fights for a loose ball during a game against China at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio. (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters)

The first reaction from every newcomer to the Paralympics is always the same: "Those people are amazing!"

The more they watch, the deeper the appreciation.

"Did you see how fast that guy swam the 100 free, and he only has one leg! ... How did that completely blind woman log such a blazing triathlon?"

It never fails. If we like the Olympics for the athletes' stories, we love the Paralympics for the same reason.

Which brings us to Cindy Ouellet.

Prepare to feel like a slacker: Ouellet is dominant in two para sports (winter and summer), she's finishing a PhD in biomedical engineering, she's a bilingual advocate for people with disabilities, LGBTQ2 people, mental health and anti- bullying causes.

She's also developing a university course and, to top it all off, she's like Mike Holmes with the power tools. Build it, fix it — no problem for Cindy.

That's not to say it's all smooth sailing for the captain of Canada's wheelchair basketball team.

Cindy has suffered mental and physical setbacks that would knock anyone off their game. But we can safely add 'determined' to Cindy's laundry list of admirable attributes. Just what the team needs entering Tokyo.

A little while before the Paralympics began, Player's Own Voice podcast caught up with Cindy at her home in Quebec City.

Like the CBC Sports' Player's Own Voice essay series the podcast allows athletes speak to Canadians about issues from a personal perspective.

To listen to the entire fourth season of POV podcast, subscribe for free on Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Tune In or wherever you do your other podcast listening.

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?