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Episode #11: Joanne Vergara

October 5, 2020

40:27 minutes


“Go hard or go home” was Joanne’s mantra when she competed. It is safe to say it worked. At 16 she won three medals at her first Paralympics (a gold, a silver, and a bronze). Four years later she upped her game and came home with five gold. The youngest of four children in her family she was naturally competitive and keen to keep up. She loved swimming and it was a good fit for her as she is a bilateral below the knee amputee so sports that involved running and jumping were a bit more challenging.

Joanne had the ability to compete both in para swimming and able-bodied events. She attended the University of Manitoba and swam with the U of M swim team, qualifying for and competing at nationals (now USport then CIAU). Her accomplishments were achieved by recognizing that success would not come overnight – she set goals and took small steps every day to get her closer and closer to the top of the podium.

Retired from swimming and a mom of three teenagers, Joanne’s favorite sounds alternate between the peace of nature in her backyard in the morning and the wildly noisy chaos of her children in the house. She reminds us to worry less about what people think of you and instead focus on what makes you happy, what you want out of life and what you can give to others.

We hope you enjoy our conversation with Joanne Vergara.

“Just worry about what makes you happy, what you want out of life, what you can give to others. Be more focused on yourself rather than doing things because of what you’re concerned other people might be thinking.”