Benoit Huot started swimming when he was 8-years-old. He’d tried several other sports, but found swimming to be something he could excel at despite his club foot. He never looked back.
This will be Benoit Huot’s fifth Paralympic Games competing for Team Canada. He has 19 Paralympic medals (nine Gold, five Silver, five Bronze) which makes him one of Canada’s most decorated Paralympic athletes.
Athletes with physical, visual, and intellectual impairments compete in the Paralympics.
According to rio2016.com: “…swimming has been part of the Paralympic Games since Rome 1960, the first edition. Swimmers use four strokes and in Rio there are 151 medal events for men, women, and mixed relay teams.”
Swimmers are divided into “classes” so that they are competing against athletes who have similar impairments (learn more in this PDF).
Swimming requires speed, agility, and flexibility. Get to know more about Benoit below and then cheer him on with your kids!
When did you first realize you loved your sport? How did you know?
I really wanted to be active as a kid. I just didn’t know which sports were going to work for me. I realized that I was in my place at my first swimming competition. I had the eye of the tiger and I wanted to do well. I knew I found my passion and I wanted to accomplish new goals in this sport.
What is one way, outside of sport, that being physically literate has helped you?
It has helped me to become the person I am today. I need to be active a little bit every day to make me feel good.
When you aren’t participating in your sport, what is your favourite way to be active?
I love to bike everywhere. Sometimes I have no choice to take a car, but if I have a chance, I jump on my bike even when I go visit friends and family.
Tell us one thing you remember your parents doing that encouraged you or helped you to keep active.
My dad always brought me to the baseball and hockey game when he had tickets. I had the chance to see in action the best of their profession at a young age. It really inspired me to be an athlete as well.
What’s the most important thing you can share with the kids who look up to you?
Never give up on your dreams. Surround yourself with people you can trust and have confidence in. This will bring you a long way.
If your child is inspired by Benoit and is interested in swimming, the first step is to be confident in the water. Here are some related articles and activities:
You may also be interested in learning more about physical literacy for kids with special needs. Here are some related articles:
- Special needs children: 5 ways to help their physical literacy flourish
- Kids of all abilities get added benefits through activities that develop physical literacy