How visually impaired cyclist Robbi Weldon acheived her Olympic dreams

The Canadian athlete is a top-ranked Paralympic cross-country skier, a Paralympic cyclist and a single mother of two young children. She tells us how she finds her strength and award-winning advice
By Alanna Glassman

Robbi Weldon in cycling gear standing with tandem bike partner

Age: 36
Sport: Paralympic cycling
Trains: 2 to 4 hours a day
Hometown: Thunder Bay, Ont.

Robbi Weldon has a need for speed. "I live for the thrill of flying down the track," says the mother of two. With perfectly timed movements and awesome power behind every pedal, she rides tandem with Lyne Bessette. Robbi is visually impaired — she was diagnosed with a form of macular degeneration at 15 — and has 6 percent of her sight. "As a kid, I knew I could get faster and stronger, even if I couldn't see," she says. Robbi is also a world-class powerlifter and top-ranked Paralympic cross-country skier.

Her secret to success: "We all have our own obstacles, but we can find ways to work with them."

Top workout tip:
"If you're on the fence, remind yourself how good you feel after exercise and use that as motivation."

Pre-race ritual:
"Lyne, my pilot, and I always get on the bike on the left side. Sometimes before a race we do a little fist bump."

She’s always in it to win it: "I know how to fight through the pain – all endurance athletes have to. We all reach a point in every long-distance race where we’ve got to fight through that pain. That’s when the race becomes a mind game, and I know I’ve got the mental strength to push on and cross the finish line. Every time I hop on the bike, I’m racing to win."

Finding her strength: "I wasn’t always sure my Olympic dreams would come true when I started to lose my sight, but my parents helped me stay strong, confident and right on track."

Her award-winning advice: "Seek out mentors in all aspects of life. We learn a lot when we appreciate the success of others."


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