Cindy Ouellet and Janet McLachlan
The dynamic duo, cocaptains of Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team, each overcame adversity to lead their team to Rio.
The cocaptains of the women’s wheelchair basketball team know a thing or two about leading. For the past several years, Cindy Ouellet of Quebec City and Janet McLachlan of West Vancouver have traded the title of Wheelchair Basketball Canada Female Athlete of the Year back and forth, and they’ve both faced adversity—a battle with bone cancer for Cindy and a knee injury for Janet—and emerged as champions.
5 reasons we love Cindy Ouellet and Janet McLachlan
1. They're crazy talented.
Cindy was first introduced to the sport of wheelchair basketball in 2005 and, by 2007, she had already made the Senior Women's National Team and won a gold at the Canada Games. Janet made a similarly speedy progression to the top, playing at the 2008 Paralympic Games just two years after she started playing wheelchair basketball competitively. And at the 2012 London Paralympics, she scored more points than any other athlete.
2. They don't give up.
Cindy had dreamed of going far as a soccer player and skier before she was diagnosed with bone cancer at 12 years old, but she didn't let that slow her down. After losing the use of her legs, she swam and did track before a physiotherapist introduced her to wheelchair basketball. And Janet had played elite basketball and rugby before a devastating knee injury seemingly put an end to her athletic career. She turned to wheelchair basketball as she was recovering and there was no looking back.
3. They hope to use their experiences for good.
Cindy studies exercise science and wants to get a PhD in biomedical engineering, a field that works to design devices such as artificial organs and body parts—say, to help those who've lost limbs. Janet, who has a degree in interior design, has been exploring design with a focus on accessibility in homes.
4. They're tough.
Wheelchair basketball players play hard. Though it's technically a no-contact sport, chairs tend to collide in heated games. Cindy has experienced concussions, dislocated shoulders and broken fingers. Cindy also does Crossfit in a wheelchair. Meanwhile, Janet couldn't wait to get back onto the basketball court even after suffering several torn ligaments and a fracture in her knee.
5. We could all use some of their positivity.
Cindy has said that she wouldn't trade her current life to have the use of her legs again because she's so happy playing wheelchair basketball. She lives by the words "carpe diem," which are tattooed on her wrist. Janet talks about being grateful for the life she has. She tells future Paralympians: "Play for fun. Enjoy every moment and live every moment."