Paralympic racer aiming for gold medals in Sydney
By JUDY OWEN -- Winnipeg Sun
Colin Mathieson knows it's a Paralympic year without even having to look at a calendar.
All he needs to do is check the repair bills for his racing wheelchair.
A week before this month's trials for the Sydney Paralympic Games, the 21-year-old Winnipegger crashed his chair during a race.
Only minor repairs were needed and Mathieson ended up qualifying for the 100-metre, 200m, 400m and 800m races, plus two relays, last weekend in Quebec.
It was a bit of deja vu.
When Mathieson was at trials for the '96 Atlanta Paralympics, he wrecked his chair in a race, but still qualified and went on to win a bronze medal in the 4x400 relay with a new chair.
"I think I've got my crashes out of the way for the year," Mathieson said with a chuckle yesterday.
That would be a good thing, considering he has his sights set on a few more medals at the October Games, which take place 10 days after the Olympic Games.
"The goal is to win," said Mathieson, who's in a chair because of spina bifida -- a condition that affects the spine. "If you don't set that at the beginning, then you settle for second best. I believe that I could medal in any one of the events."
At last year's World Games in Sydney, Mathieson won a bronze in the 400m.
He's also been to two world championships, finishing fifth in the 200 and 400 in '98 and fourth in the 100 in '95.
Mathieson is the 18th Manitoba athlete to qualify for the Olympic or Paralympic games.