Diane Roy, competing in the women's 400m T54 heat in Rio, says being at her sixth Paralympics only sparks her passion. Photo courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Diane Roy, Canada’s ‘Warhorse” is girding for Paralympic battle

Athletics legend is in her sixth Games

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil – The warhorse was at the front lines yet again on Thursday night, and the battle has not worn her down.

Wheelchair racer Diane Roy competed in her sixth Paralympic Games and has only gotten better with age.

“This summer, I did one of my best 400m and 800m (times),” Roy said, after the women’s T-54 5,000m final at Olympic Stadium, where she finished seventh. “That’s why I’m here again, because I can do very well and I have fun when I’m racing.

“I can do very well at competition, I kick some ass.”

Roy was confident out of the gates but it was the young talent that edged her out as the race went on. She maintained fourth place through the first 2,000m but began to lose steam and finished seventh with a time of 11:58.

With her die-hard attitude, there is no question why Roy was bestowed the nickname ‘Warhorse’. Her experiences over the years have given her the necessary tools to continue her well-fought battle.

“I think I feel more each race,” the 45-year-old said. “I am experienced and I can use strategy … It’s a new Games every time.”

The Sherbrooke, Que. resident has been racing for 25 years and appeared in her first Paralympic Games in 1996. She has won one silver and four bronze over the course of her six Games.

For Roy, her sixth place finish in the 1,500m earlier this week and the 5,000m final are not enough to get her to retire. If anything, it has inspired more.

“It’s hard to just stop (competing) right away,” Roy said. “I need to prepare my head for that. When you are not good, you stop. If you don’t do anything good, it’s easy to just leave and say ‘I’m done’ ”

Wheelchair racing has been such a prominent part of Roy’s life. It keeps her life fulfilled.

“It’s a passion,” Roy said. “I have to have some more challenges.”

Showing no sign of quitting what she loves to do, there is one reason why she spends so much time preparing for the summer Games.

“I hate winter,” Roy said with a laugh.

Roy’s final event is the 800m on Saturday at Olympic Stadium.

Twitter: @HannahDCarver