Being surrounded by world-class talent and the hardest-working athletes in the world was a surreal experience. Everywhere I looked, I saw inspiration.
I kept thinking about all the incredible stories I had heard about the Canadian athletes I was lucky enough to chat with.
Meanwhile, there were athletes from 159 other countries whose journeys were a mystery to me, but just as remarkable. Thousands of inspiring people were packed into one beautiful city.
David Willsie reaching waaaay back for this one at Canada's practice. Wheelchair rugby underway tomorrow vs. Brazil pic.twitter.com/RoQClfeFmP
— Braydon Holmyard (@BraydonHolmyard) September 13, 2016
It was athletes like Canadian judoka Priscilla Gagne who made my two weeks in Rio so much more than a business trip.
Her genuine personality had touched so many people leading up to the Paralympic Games, especially one Brazilian volunteer, who she’d met years earlier. The volunteer remembered her so fondly, that she took the time to create custom “I love Priscilla” shirts for the Canadian’s visiting parents.
Even after a heart-breaking loss in her bronze medal bout, Priscilla took time to speak to every single journalist and fan who asked for her attention with a smile on her face.
Somehow, in such a tough moment, her positive energy was stronger and more uplifting than any other person in the arena.