Para-athlete Stefan Daniel has championed the world four times and shone in USports cross-country running. After a year's delay, he's now aiming for gold at the para-triathlon in Toyko this summer.
In advance, the reigning world champion is eager to compete in his first world cup level events since September 2019.
So far, races are scheduled in Spain and Wisconsin in June. There could be more, there could be less. He says you have to remain flexible through the pandemic.
"There are races on the horizon, so I'm getting ready for them now, and it'll come up quickly."
Training has been more difficult, especially with pools being closed. He's been largely focusing on running and riding.
"It's not ideal, but I think literally nobody in the world has had ideal preparations for the games. It's just part of the challenge of being in a pandemic, so we're all trying to do the best we can. I'll be able to get back in the pool again. I'll be set, I'll be ready."
"Everyone has their own challenges leading up to it, but I think whoever manages it the best, or even close, has a good chance to do well."
The 2020 Paralympics were put on hold for a year due to the pandemic and are now set to take place in Tokyo from Aug. 25 to Sept. 5.
He believes Germany's Martin Schulz and Great Britain's George Peasgood will be among those offering stiff competition.
In 2016, Daniel became the first Canadian triathlete ever to win a medal at the Paralympic Summer Games when the sport made its debut in Rio de Janeiro. Schulz won gold.
"We've gone back and forth the past years, so I think it will be another really good, exciting race, and I'm looking forward to it."
By the end of the 2019 season, Daniel had earned 24 podium finishes in 38 ITU races including 19 wins.
After successfully defending his world title in 2019, Daniel helped the men's cross-country team of the Univerity of Calgary repeat as both the Canada West and USports champions. He finished first in the Canada West cross-country championship race and 12th at the nationals.
Daniel went to St. Timothy Jr./Sr. High School before moving on to a specialized sports school.