Working hard to achieve his dreams both on and off the court, Nik Goncin still hopes to bring a lot to the table.
The forward has been playing for Canada’s wheelchair basketball team since 2013, representing the country at world championships, Parapan American Games, and Paralympic Games, after being introduced to the sport in high school when he lost his left leg to osteosarcoma.
Goncin has also been working on his post-basketball career, with a kinesiology degree from the University of Illinois, a Masters in Health Science from Ontario Institute of Technology, and he’s currently studying prosthetics and orthotics at George Brown College, but with both basketball and academics dominating his time, he says it’s tough to maintain connections.
“That’s probably the biggest challenge is just the time management and keeping those things,” Goncin said, in an online interview. “Keeping those relationships strong still and prioritizing them.”
Those relationships became stronger early in the pandemic when nobody had anything to do and everyone was craving social interaction. Goncin was still able to talk regularly with his teammates, and also with people that he hadn’t talked to in a while.
Now his focus has shifted back to training for the Tokyo Paralympic Games.
After a disappointing 11th-place finish for Team Canada at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, Goncin admitted he didn’t find the game as fun as it used to be when years of grinding away didn’t turn out the way he had hoped.
But after taking some time to reevaluate what he wanted to do, he is still having a lot of fun and the level of excitement for the Tokyo Games rivals any other competition. The Summer Paralympics are scheduled to take place from Aug. 24 – Sept. 5, 2021.
“This is kind of the apex of my journey, this is what I’ve been training for,” he said, “As long as it’s fun, I’m going to be out there.”