Carpe diem: Paralympic star Cindy Ouellet's words to lives by

The wheelchair basketball silver medallist shares her hidden talents and award-winning advice
By Alanna Glassman

Cindy Ouellet in wheelchair playing basketball

Age: 23
Sport: Wheelchair basketball
Trains: 7 hours a day
Hometown: Quebec City

Cindy Ouellet
is queen of the court: She's one of the quickest and toughest defenders in the world. She developed cancer in her hip at age 12 but refused to let her diagnosis define her. "My physiotherapist introduced me to wheelchair basketball when I was 15, and it became more than a sport for me," Cindy says. "It helped me overcome my cancer. I was able to channel my anger into something positive. Now my wheelchair feels like and extension of my body." Today she plays on the senior national team and averages 15 to 25 points a game.

Why this sport: "Basketball is more than just a game. It's 80 percent attitude; the rest is skill."

Top workout tip: “Do a little something every day. Surround yourself with positive people.”

Words she (literally) lives by: "Carpe diem is tattooed on my wrist. I seize every opportunity, every day. I love my life and I wouldn't change a thing."

Watch out for: Chair-to-chair contact on the court. "It gets intense out there. They say it’s a non-contact sport, but we’re pretty aggressive. Our chairs clash all of the time, and I honestly love it. I love how we don’t hold back. We give it our all to score."

Hidden talents:
She’s musical, too! "I play the guitar, drums, piano and ukulele."

Her award-winning advice: "Respect yourself. Accept your differences. Be true to yourself."

Meet more of Canada's Olympic and Paralympic contenders here.


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