Meet John McRoberts, a medal-winning Paralympic Sailor for Canada. John splits time between Victoria, British Columbia and St. Petersburg, FL. Always an active person, John participated in everything from wheelchair rugby to racing before finally settling on sailing. To John sailing has longevity, “Other sports have a shelf life because of your age. Sailing can be done until the day I die.”
Disability or Age Doesn’t Matter
Unlike other sports that require being able to move a wheelchair around aggressively or upper-body strength, John points out that with sailing disability or age doesn’t matter, it’s mentality. “The beauty of sailing is that you can compete with a high level disability. Anybody can do this. [On the water] it’s about being faster and smarter – it doesn’t matter about the chair. I get to leave my chair behind. It’s really good mentally to be free from it, you know?”
As part of John’s training he spends time both on the water and in the gym. Four days a week he spends 3 hours on the water practicing. At the gym John is stretching and working with a trainer on machines.
We asked John if he weren’t sailing, what Paralympic sport would he want to compete in? “Rugby. I played when I was younger but since then the chairs have evolved; the whole sport has evolved. Rugby is the ticket everyone wants at the games.”
Security is Peace of Mind
John is equipped with a ROHO cushion both in his chair and on his boat. “You can be as talented and adventurous as you want but if your health isn’t good you can’t do anything. Sitting on a ROHO is a huge peace of mind. I know I’m going to be fine. It allows me to check off one of those precautionary things that I have to worry about each day. It’s my security blanket. “
After meeting his wife Jackie sailing, they got married in 2010. Jackie also enjoys staying active and is John’s sailing partner. Together they are committed to going to the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Best of luck!