Page back
WILK Rafal
Sport Para-Cycling
NPC Poland   
GenderMen
Age43
Place of BirthLancut, POL
Height1.71 m
Human Interest
Impairment Information
Type of Impairment
Spinal Cord Injuries
Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Further Personal Information
Marital status
* unknown *
Family
Daughters Gabriela [1996] and Wiktoria [1999], son Hubert [2001]
Residence
Rzeszˇw, POL
Occupation
Athlete, University Staff
Languages
English, Polish
Higher education
Sport Studies - Uniwersytet Rzeszowski: Poland
Sport Specific Information
When and where did you begin this sport?
He began Para cycling in 2010 at age 36 in Zamosc, Poland.
Why this sport?
He was involved in cycling before his accident.
Club / Team
Stal Rzeszow: Poland
Name of coach
Jakub Pieniazek [club, personal], POL; Miroslaw Jurek [national], POL
Senior International Debut
Year
2011
Competing for
Poland
General Interest
Nicknames
Rafa (Athlete, 07 Feb 2012)
Hobbies
Skiing. (podrozebezgranic.pl, 11 Apr 2014)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning two gold medals at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. (rafalwilk.com, 14 Sep 2014)
Most influential person in career
His children. (Athlete, 07 Feb 2012)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen." [Paulo Coelho] (Facebook profile, 20 Jul 2017)
Awards and honours
In 2017 he became a Honorary Citizen of Rzeszow in Poland. (wyborcza.pl, 19 Jan 2017)

He was Poland's flag bearer at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (myinfo.rio2016.com, 06 Sep 2016)

In 2013 he was presented with the Commander's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta. (prezydent.pl, 07 Feb 2013)

In 2012 he was named Para Athlete of the Year in Poland. (paralympic.org.pl, 2015)
Other sports
He competed in speedway racing at national level before injuring his spinal cord in an accident during a race in 2006. (tvp.pl, 28 Feb 2013)
Famous relatives
His daughters Gabriela and Wiktoria have represented Poland in gymnastics. His father Jan Wilk was a speedway racer, who died in a car accident. (wsiz.rzeszow.pl, 29 Jan 2016; Gabriela Wilk Facebook profile, 08 Nov 2015; gloswielkopolski.pl, 16 Sep 2012; eurosport.onet.pl, 21 Oct 2010)
Ambitions
To win gold at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (sport.tvp.pl, 16 Sep 2016)
Impairment
He has paraplegia as the result of a speedway accident during a race in 2006. (tvp.pl, 28 Feb 2013)
Other information
FIRST STEPS
In the early part of 2017 he took his first steps following his accident in 2006. "A clinic was testing an exoskeleton and one of my colleagues asked me if I would like to try it. They were looking for someone who had never used one before, to make the tests relevant. So I put it on, I stood up and I walked. It was fantastic. Suddenly the world looks completely different. I stood on my feet and immediately my horizons expanded. It is something beautiful." (przegladsportowy.pl, 15 Apr 2017)

OTHER ACTIVITIES
He has set up a charitable organisation called 'There is one sport - Rafal Wilk Foundation', which supports Para athletes fighting to achieve their sporting dreams and goals. He was also the subject of a film titled 'Rafal Wilk - A Man of Iron' that presented the story of his life before and after his accident. (sportjestjeden.org, 2016; tvp.pl, 06 Nov 2014)

Competition Highlights (historical)
Road World Championships
Rank Year Event Result
6 2011 H3 - Time Trial 24:21
7 2011 H3 - Road Race 1:41:13
1 2013 H3 - Time Trial 28:05
1 2013 H3 - Road Race 2:01:10
5 2014 Team Relay 37:43
1 2014 H4 - Time Trial 25:16
4 2014 H4 - Road Race 1:38:10
5 2015 Team Relay 33:48
1 2015 H4 - Time Trial 28:55
1 2015 H4 - Road Race 1:32:40
Paralympic Games
Rank Year Event Result
1 2012 H3 - Time Trial 25:24.17
1 2012 H3 - Road Race 1:50:05
1 2016 H4 - Time Trial 27:39.31
2 2016 H4 - Road Race 1:28:51