Kelowna Para Athlete Prepares for Rio Olympic Trials

by: Molly Gibson Kirby

Eight Kelowna athletes have qualified for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics and will be leaving for Olympics trials shortly.

On Wednesday afternoon, Pacific Sport Okanagan and the City of Kelowna joined together to hold a celebration barbeque for the Okanagan athletes.

“We still haven’t made the team for Rio yet. That will be announced on July 11, but I am part of the four-by-four and relay team. That’s put together beforehand. We just have to show continued performance and growth and show that we earned those spots.”

Smyth broke his back in 2011 when he was downhill skateboarding. While in hospital, he started watching wheelchair basketball and track and field.

“It was never something I saw myself doing. Before my injury, I was always into extreme sports. I did mountain biking for a while and I was downhill skateboarding for the longest time.”

Even though he wishes he could go back to the extreme sports, he doesn’t have the ankle control in his feet or the muscle function in his legs to allow him to continue them.

With the love for extreme sports, Smyth never had plans to be a track and field athlete; however, he couldn’t be happier about the possibility of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

Tristan Smyth, a 30-year-old Lake Country man, has qualified for the Paralympics. Smyth is travelling to Edmonton next week for Olympic trials to see if he’ll make the track and field team.

Kelowna athletes heading to the BC Summer Games in Abbotsford, B.C., were also celebrated during the Stuart Park barbeque.