Track cyclist Michael Sametz is training in the veldodrome at the Rio Paralympic Games. Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee

Young Canadian cycling star on track for 2020

Teammates say Michael Sametz is on his way to becoming Canada's top paracycler

Canada is getting its first glimpse of a rising star who could make it to the top of his sport.
Michael Sametz, 20, and in his first Paralympics, has turned heads in recent years, including those of his teammates on Canada’s paracycling team.
Tristen Chernove, the 40-year-old fellow first-time Paralympian, believes Sametz could go all the way.
“I think that we are looking at the future world champion,” said Chernove at the Rio Velodrome Saturday.
“I think he is just tremendously talented. Not only that, but for a young man, his approach is so professional, he is in it 100 per cent and it is so great to see him progress in the way he is.”
Chernove is twice the age of Sametz and picked up his second medal in two days on Saturday, yet even he is moved by the young man’s performance.
“He inspires me and it’s part of why I like being on the team,” Chernove said. “Right now, seeing Mike’s great performances is helping me.”
On Friday, Sametz finished a surprising fourth in the Men’s C3 3000m Individual pursuit even though he was expected to finish lower.
Ross Wilson, another silver medal winning paracyclist on Team Canada, was excited to talk about Sametz’s potential after his 1000m run Saturday.
“Mikey is just going to continue to be a great cyclist,” Wilson said. “I think you were seeing him really emerge if you look at his results over the last two years. He has continued to grow and mature and develop into a supreme rider.
“He’s added quite a bit of muscle over the last year, and I think as he really reaches his full growth potential in terms of physical attributes and size he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.”
On Saturday, Sametz added a 17th place finish in the Men’s C1-2-3 1000m Time Trial. Even though he has not won a medal in Rio, he has reached one career goal.
“It was funny, when I was about 14 that’s when I started racing and I was telling people that my goal was to go to Rio,” Sametz said. “So when I went to Rio, I was like, ‘Woah, that’s pretty incredible.’ I always had a fascination with the Olympics so I always wanted to compete here at some point in my life.”
Wilson is excited to see how high Sametz can fly and believes he has the tools to excel.
“Mike is a great kid and he is surrounded by really loving parents and a great support structure there,” he said. “I’m just trying to be a friend and help him out whenever I can.”
Now that Sametz has reached his first goal, he says his next is to medal.
Wilson believes that Sametz will meet that goal in as little as four years.
“I think you are looking at the guy who is going to be the gold medal favourite going into Tokyo.”