Paralympic athlete Kirby Cote was flat-out surprised by the news she was going to be inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame.
“It was actually a (work) client who nominated me. I had absolutely no idea. They’re from a sport family as well and said you should be honoured for this. It’s like everything has come full circle.” Cote said.
Cote, who has a visual impairment and competed in Para Swimming, has quite the accolades to go with her time as a Paralympic athlete including:
- Competed and medaled in three Paralympic Games (2000/2004/2008)
- Set two new world record times in 2000 in Sydney
- Won six gold medals at two World Championships
She said there’s one memory that stands out from her time competing.
“My first Paralympic race ever. It was in Sydney, Australia and I was 16-years-old. While I don’t remember the race itself, I remember sitting with family afterwards and thinking about all of the hard work and struggles I went through. I breathed a sigh of relief,” said Cote.
She said it was quite an experience setting two new world records during the Sydney games.
“It was really neat to see the reaction from everybody else and seeing them accept Paralympic sports,” said Cote.
“Back in 2000, it wasn’t really all that big. It felt good representing the sport, people with disabilities and people with visual impairment,” added Cote.
Storing the memories
It’s often a big question of where successful people keep their hardware such as an Olympic medal and Cote provided the insight.
“The medals are in a big Tupperware container in my parent’s basement. They’ve kept everything. They have soup cans, goggles and tickets. They have everything,” Cote said with a laugh.
Cote is still very active still and is now taking up Jujutsu.
“A friend invited me to it one time and it was love at first sight. I also do Judo. It’s excellent for visually impaired athletes,” she said.
Cote is excited to experience the induction with her biggest fans.
“My whole family is going to be there. Including parents, aunts, uncles, and friends. While it honours what I did, it also honours what we did. I’ve had the best support group.”
Cote will be inducted along with other Manitoba athletes at the 39th annual hall of fame event Nov. 3 in Winnipeg.
WATCH: Athlete Kirby Cote talk about her success on Global News Morning.