Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Robbi Weldon, grew to be a well-rounded champion. Robbi Weldon is a 4-time Summer & Winter Paralympian. She competed in Vancouver 2010 and Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics in Nordic skiing and London 2012 and Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics for Tandem Road & Track Cycling. Robbi and her teammate, Lyne Bessette won Gold in the London 2012 Games in the 80km road race.
Robbi also competed in goalball for Ontario in the mid 90s and set a world record in Powerlifting for the Blind in 1996.
Retiring from sport in 2020, Robbi continues her work as a Recreation Therapist in Calgary, Alberta and is pursuing a degree in Public Health.
Ryan immigrated to Canada from Barbados in 1986 at the age of twelve. Attending the W Ross McDonald School for the Blind in Brantford, Ontario, Ryan was introduced to academia and amateur sport. As a youngster from the Islands, it was a natural transition for him to join the school swim team. This was Ryan’s first intersection with OBSA. Through the encouragement from his coaches and the opportunities made available by the school and OBSA, Ryan worked hard to build his skills and ignite his determination. He qualified for Canada’s national team four years later. He swam his way to two fifth-place finishes and one seventh-place finish at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain. In 1993, Ryan achieved the world record in the 400-metre breaststroke.
Ryan’s love of sport has also led him to compete in nine sprint triathlons across Canada. He is a seven-time participant in the Ride to Conquer Cancer in support of Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.
Ryan serves as a volunteer member of his local Lions Club. He takes an active role in projects to improve his community and many others around the world.
Mike Breuls was employed at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Visually Impaired since 1984. Mike was introduced to the competitive sport of Goalball by Mick Ferras in 1988, as an assistant coach with the Ontario Men’s Senior Goalball team. From 1995 to 2001, Mike held the position of assistant coach with the W. Ross Macdonald High School Goalball team. In 2002, he became the head coach of the High School team, participating in several Canadian and U.S.A National Goalball Championships and winning various medals. In 2006, in coordination with the OBSA, Mike assisted with the organization of the inaugural Canadian Junior Goalball Championships. From 2008 until 2013, Mike has played an essential role in leading and organizing multiple OBSA programs hosted at W. Ross Macdonald School, such as the Ontario Parasport Goalball Competitions, OBSA summer sports camps, High Performance camps and sports days’ clinics. Mike’s commitment to building blind sports and assisting athletes to thrive to achieve excellence has been a building block in growing OBSA.
Mick Ferras has been helping athletes in various sports at all levels in the community for decades. As a sports leader, he coached the Ontario men’s teams who have won 13 national championships, and the women’s teams who won 15. Mick continues to push blind and visually impaired athletes to do and be their best by volunteering at multiple blind sports programs including, the annual summer sports camp, sports days, and OBSA high-performance camp.
Frank credits the competitive experiences on his high school wrestling team sparring with able bodies athletes as the turning point in his self-confidence. He achieved a Silver Medal in the 1982 ECSSA Wrestling Championships in Windsor, ON, and went on to wrestle for the University of Windsor later that year, as well as competing in the 1984 Summer Paralympics in New York, where he won a Silver Medal. Frank also won the World Blind Powerlifting Championships in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, and 1997 before retiring from the sport in 2003. Frank still holds a top-10 ranking in blind lifting 30 years later. In 1986, he competed in Gothenburg, Sweden at the World Championships, placing 4th in the 100-meter and 2nd in the 400-meter events, the latter of which is still a Canadian record today, more than 30 years later.
Like many accomplished Ontario athletes, Teresa’s love for sport began at school at a young age. By age 12, she earned her first medals in various running, jumping, and swimming events, earning 2 Gold Medals & 3 Silver Medals. By age 14, her focus became field events, mainly Shotput and Discus. By the time she was 17, she won 4 Gold Medals internationally. From age 14-22, she competed for Team Canada at the 1992 Paralympics in Barcelona. She took home Bronze. Teresa embraces the benefits of sport, translating the many experiences she had as an athlete into the incredible person she has become.
Marie-Claire is a very accomplished swimmer. Her accolades include 2 bronze and 1 silver medal at the 1992 Paralympic Games; 6 medals at the 1996 Paralympic Games with 2 Gold medals in world record time; in 1996 she was Captain of the 1996 Canadian Paralympic Swim Team; a silver medalist at the Ontario Intervarsity Swimming Championships in 1988 when competing with sighted peers; and the first athlete with a disability in Canadian history to qualify for, and compete at the Canadian Intervarsity Sports (CIS) National Championships in 1988, where she finished fourth in Canada against her sighted competitors. Additional accomplishments include: 2x Swimming Canada Female Swimmer of the Year, for Swimmers with a Disability; Ryerson University Athlete of the year (1998); 2x MVP and Captain of the Ryerson Swim Team; and Marie-Claire was inducted into the Ryerson Sports Hall of Fame in 2003.
Lisa first recognized her abilities through the W. Ross MacDonald P.E. and athletics program. She became an exemplary goalball athlete as she represented Team Ontario from 1982 to 1995. In 1988, she was selected for Team Canada and competed at the Paralympic Games earning a Bronze Medal. Since then, she has worked in a factory, been a partner in a small business, managed a home daycare centre, and is a kettle attendant for the Salvation Army. Currently, she is a volunteer with the CNIB and also holds a position on the alumni board for W. Ross MacDonald. Lisa embodies the benefits that sports have to offer, using her success in sports to shape her great personality and propel her toward new endeavours as a true adventure seeker.
As a wife, mother, and grandmother, family is what Colleen values most in life. She raised four children, all athletes, who accumulated 4 National Championships in Lacrosse for the Jr. B Six Nations Rebels. But from 1983 to 1998, Colleen was a tremendous Goalball coach. As coach of the Ontario Women’s Goalball team, Colleen won 6 National Championships. Under Colleen’s leadership, she was part of the Canadian National Goalball Team that won a Bronze Medal at the 1988 Paralympics in Korea. Colleen is an accomplished athlete, winning 6 Provincial Championships in softball and a National Championship in 1992.
Mike was hired at WRMS in 1973. As a Residence Counsellor, he participated in and ran many evening activities with the students – developing a particular interest in goalball. Through OBSA, he became involved as a referee, achieving a Level 3 and Course Conductor status and later, obtaining official international certification. Michael coached both the Ontario Men’s & Women’s Provincial Teams in addition to both the boys’ & girls’ teams at W. Ross. Mike has given so much to goalball in Ontario and is a deserving recipient of this induction.
As a child, Cheryl attended the W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford. While there, Cheryl grew into a competitive athlete who dedicated herself to various sports, including Goalball and Track & Field. Cheryl participated in two Paralympic Games. In 1980, Cheryl represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in Arnhem, Netherlands, earning Gold in the 3000-metre walk and Bronze in High-Jump. In 1984, Cheryl again competed for Canada in the New York Paralympics, earning Gold in the 3000-metre and Silver in the 1500-metre walks. As an athlete, Cheryl approached sports with a passion. She earned respect as an athlete in helping put Canada on the map in terms of Paralympic success.
Rod discovered a passion and natural ability in sport while attending W. Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in Brantford. He grew quickly into an all-round athlete, competing in Wrestling, Track and Field, Goalball, Baseball, Hockey, and Football. Some of Rod’s accolades include several provincial and national championships, competition in the Paralympics, 1984-New York, and a multitude of World Championship medals in Powerlifting, as well as earning a gold medal in 1997-Colorado Springs. Rod continues his sports successes today, actively competing in Goalball and setting an example for younger visually impaired athletes in his hometown of Kitchener.
Judi has contributed to blind sport in so many ways as a builder and athlete and while she could be inducted in either category, tonight, we recognize her incredible contributions as a builder. Judy has volunteered with OBSA as a member of our board for 10 years, and has competed in Bowling and Lawn Bowling. Through competing, Judi discovered how much sport offered her in a positive way and she became determined to facilitate others gaining the same experience and growth. It is because of this drive that she became a staunch advocate and leader in the blind community!
Eric has shown great dedication to sports, engaging actively in wrestling and track & field from the age of twelve. His accomplishments include Paralympic Wrestling, where he won silver at the 1980 Paralympics in Holland; setting a new world record in High Jump & competing in Goalball at the international level. Eric Lambier made the Top 10 in the international 100-metre sprint event. Following these accomplishments in sports, Eric decided to concentrate on his music career. Through his great talents and independence, Eric has paved way for a comprehensive approach to multisports for the blind, encouraging our athletes to participate in as many sports as possible.
Bill has achieved great success as a multisport athlete. At the age of 15, Bill was a member of the Canadian Blind Wrestling Team in Holland, where he finished 4th in the World Championships. He won gold at the 1998 Canadian National Goalball Championships and gold at the 1999 Para Pan-American Judo Competition. Bill also placed 5th at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games, and earned his second bronze medal at the 2006 World Championships in France. Bill retired from competition in Judo in 2010. He holds the distinction of the first OBSA athlete to win a World Championship medal in Judo and to represent Canada at the Paralympics in the sport of Judo.
W. Ross Macdonald School
WRMS was the hub and foundation of blind sports in Ontario long before the OBSA was even incorporated. WRMS was originally named the Ontario School for the Blind and has provided support to blind and visually impaired athletes through the ongoing development of opportunities to learn, become fitter, and hone sport-specific skills. WRMS’s amazing staff have given freely and generously of their time and expertise to help create and support programs that all students may benefit from, many of which were open to those who didn’t even attend the school. The school has always been on the leading edge of growing blind sports in Ontario and is home to many excellent programs for the blind.
Helena is an extraordinarily dedicated individual and has contributed greatly to the growth of Goalball in Canada and around the world. She was a 12x member of the Ontario provincial women’s Goalball team, winning gold at the National Championships 5x. Selected twice as a member of the Canadian national team, Helena is a true leader and role model for athletes of the sport, winning two bronze medals in Seoul (1988) and Barcelona (1992). Throughout her extensive Goalball career, Helena has been a leader on and off the court. From her hard work as an athlete, Helena is a champion of Goalball and has worked for 20 years to educate and support deaf-blind individuals in Brantford.
Rob Gaunt found tremendous success as an athlete in both Goalball and Powerlifting. At the age of 18, Rob represented Canada as a member of the men’s goalball team during the 1988 Paralympics in Seoul, Korea. From there, he decided to seriously train and compete in the sport of Powerlifting. He managed to win a gold medal in the 1992 Powerlifting World Championships in Perth, Australia followed by another gold medal in the 1994 Powerlifting World Championships in Ottawa. He then transitioned back to Goalball to represent Canada at the 1996 Paralympics in Atlanta. His team won the silver medal, which is still the best placement the Canadian men’s goalball team has ever had in any Paralympic Games. Rob is a strong believer in transferrable skills and knowledge and is appreciative of what sport has provided him, leading him on a path of success in life.
Tina was introduced to sports at a young age. Her friendly and fun demeanor paused once the competition began, as losing was simply not an option. She found immediate success on the track, primarily in the sprint distances. Tina competed in the 1976 Paralympics in Toronto winning 1 silver and 2 bronze, the 1978 Pan Am Games in Chicago winning 1 silver and 2 bronze, the 1979 Canada Games in Edmonton winning 7 golds and 1 silver, the 1979 Stoke Mandeville Games in England winning 2 golds, and represented Canada at the 1980 Paralympics in Holland. Tina was also a World Record holder in the 60m sprint. Tina received the Ontario Sport Achievement award 2x during her track career and also won the Best Canadian Female Athlete award in 1979.
Elizabeth MacCallum’s positive influence on blind sports came from more than 30 years of experience coaching athletes with visual impairment. Perhaps most notable was the work she did specifically involving young females in sports. Beginning her coaching career in 1959, Elizabeth recognized a need to empower young female students and used sport as a tool to demonstrate what can be possible with the right attitude and hard work. Through her endless energy and creativity, she was a pioneer in providing opportunities for young girls with visual impairment in sports that were not currently available. Through coaching, Elizabeth has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of athletes with a visual impairment from gym class to multiple high-performance international competitions, including the very first Paralympics in 1976 in Toronto.
Chelsey moved to Ontario from Antigonish, Nova Scotia at the age of 19 to help further her swimming career. This move was certainly beneficial as she is now one of the most decorated Canadian Paralympians ever. Chelsey’s incredible swimming career is highlighted by her performances in 3 World Championships in addition to 3 consecutive Paralympic Games which included the 2000 Sydney Games, 2004 Athens Games, and 2008 Beijing Games. Swimming in multiple events, she won a combined 12 medals including 7 bronze, 2 silver, and 3 gold. Chelsey was also a World Record holder in the 100 m backstroke and 200 m individual medley. Chelsey was named the 2009 Para-Swimmer of the Year by Swim Canada and the 2009 Greater Golden Horseshoe Athlete of the Year.
Brian is a true pioneer in the sport of Goalball. He competed as an athlete in the first-ever Ontario Games, the first Canada Games, the first Paralympic Games, and the first World Goalball Championships. Brian was the first Canadian to score in an international goalball competition. Brian is also a mogul on the administrative side of blind sports as he was an OBSA board representative for nine years during our beginnings. Brian is a true example of an Active for Life athlete as he still plays with his local club to this day.
Jacques competed in the first Paralympic Games that were open to athletes with a visual impairment in 1976 in Toronto. Here, Jacques won a bronze medal in Lawn Bowls and a gold medal in the 4x100m medley swimming event. It was in the sport of athletics, however, that Jacques found most of his success. During the 1980 Paralympic Games in Arnhem, Netherlands, Jacques won a gold medal in the 1500m with a world record time of 4:31.60. He later broke his own world record in 1983 while qualifying for the ’84 Games with a time of 4:29.70. Jacques went on to compete during the 1984 Paralympic Games in Long Island, USA and finished just off of the podium during the finals. In 1982, Jacques was awarded the Sam Estwick Memorial Award during its inaugural year for the Most Outstanding Para Athlete in his club. Jacques won the award again the following year in 1983 and, in addition, was inducted into the Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame in 1992.
Nick competed in middle distance track throughout high school in Brantford during the late 1970s and has maintained a lifelong love of running. Through his work at the W. Ross MacDonald School for the Blind as an educational assistant, Nick initially became involved with OBSA in the mid-1980s as a guide runner. In addition to coaching and guiding many students from the school, Nick has spent countless hours of his own time travelling with athletes to competitions throughout Ontario, across Canada, and beyond. Events that Nick participated in included the World Masters Games, where he guided Mike Tyrell, and the Canada Summer Games, at which he guided both Jon and Jason Dunkerley. Nick has also contributed his quiet and sensible perspective to OBSA as the Athletics Advisor for many years. In 2003, Nick received the Ron Foster Award from ParaSport Ontario for his commitment to furthering opportunities for Ontario athletes with physical disabilities. Nick’s genuine kindness and dedication were instrumental in the development of a number of athletes who would ultimately represent Canada at the world and Paralympic levels.
For over 30 years, Shirley has devoted countless hours and massive amounts of energy to help the visually impaired and blind community in Ontario realize the benefits of sports and physical activity. All of her efforts have positively impacted the lives of hundreds of visually impaired and blind Canadians; some of which have gone on to win multiple medals at international competitions. Shirley contributed as the Head of Service Committee for 1981 Summer Games, as a founding member of Sport for Disabled Ontario, by presiding on the OBSA Board of Directors as President for over thirty years, and by redefining the way someone with a disability travels. Shirley is still involved to this day and OBSA is grateful for all she has done and continues to do for us.
John began teaching at the W Ross Macdonald School for the Blind in 1966, where he introduced a wrestling program that competed against other local high schools. Through this program, John brought numerous students to district, provincial, and national level competitions. Eventually, at the request of the national coach for Judo in Canada, John coached and encouraged a number of his skilled wrestlers to take part in Judo, after which he went on to coach at 3 Paralympics and 2 world Championships. In 1977, John helped found the Ontario Blind Sports Association and served on our executive committee from 1977 to 2012. John was also a founding member of the Canadian Blind Sports Association and remained a member of its sport technical committee from 1976 – 1989.
The Christy Brothers
Rob and Jeff Christy have had a Goalball career few can match. Together they have earned: 3 Eastern Canadian Open gold medals, 7 USABA mid-West regional gold medals, 4 National Capital Invitation gold medals, 4 Montreal Invitational gold medals, and 11 Canadian National Championships that were consecutively 97-07. As members of the All Blacks team, they represented Ontario four times in the prestigious Malmö Open, a competition that hosts the best European club teams each year, finishing second twice. Ontario was the first non-European club team to attend, and Rob and Jeff were a large part of this team. Rob continues to give back in his role as Goalball Director for OBSA and coaching our elite athletes, and both brothers continue to support the efforts of OBSA in growing the sport of Goalball throughout Ontario.
Gord was involved in blind sports both as an athlete and a volunteer. He had an extensive athletic background and showed his diversity as an athlete through his successes in wrestling, goalball, athletics and powerlifting. In wrestling, he was the Ontario Champion from 1975 – 1979 and National Champion from 1976 – 1980 and 1984 – 1985. Gord represented Canada at the Paralympics for wrestling in 1976 and in 1984. In goalball, Gord was an Ontario Champion from 1979 – 1984 and a National Champion in 1976 and 1980. He also represented Canada at the 1978 World Championships in Austria. In athletics, Gord won several Ontario Championships in the 60, 100, and 200-meter sprints as well as in long jump and triple jump. In powerlifting, Gord won the Ontario Championships in 1984 and 1985 and represented Canada at the USABA in 1985. As a volunteer, Gord also has a lot to be proud of, from helping to organize countless events provincially and nationally, sitting on the OBSA and CBSA board from 1977 – 1982 and as vice president of the Canadian Sport Organization for the Disabled which is now the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Kim started her athletic career at a provincial competition in 1978 and did not miss a competition right through to 1984. Kim swam in many events, but her favourites were the individual medleys, breaststroke, and freestyle. During her time competing, Kim was able to set a handful of provincial records in the pool. From 1978 to 1983 she also went on to proudly represent Ontario at Nationals, winning many medals for her province. Kim was chosen to represent Canada at 2 Paralympic Games in 1980 and 1984, winning three medals at those international competitions. Her ongoing passion and determination will always be remembered and will continue to inspire younger generations of athletes.