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38946-Nate Riech photo

Nate Riech

Athletics

Biography

Impairment information

Origin of Impairment
Acquired
Classification
T38

Further personal information

Residence
Victoria, BC, CAN
Occupation
Athlete, Sales, Student
Languages
English
Higher education
Communications - University of South Alabama: Mobile, AL, USA

Sport specific information

When and where did you begin this sport?
He began running at age 10 in Chandler, AZ, United States of America.
Why this sport?
He comes from a sporting family and was determined to follow in their footsteps. His mother had told him about Para sports soon after his accident, but to begin with he wanted to compete on the able-bodied track. He received International Paralympic Committee [IPC] classification in 2018. "After my injury I was not allowed to play the sports that I grew up loving so I switched to the only sport that seemed interesting to me. Also my parents were both international track and field athletes. The running started off as therapy, then turned into one of my passions."
Club / Team
Vic City Elite: Victoria, BC, CAN
Name of coach
Heather Hennigar

International debut

Year
2019
Competing for
Canada
Tournament
Parapan American Games
Location
Lima, PER

General interest

Nicknames
NateDogg, Dogg, GrayWolf (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Hobbies
Coaching, fundraising for children's hospitals, public speaking, golf. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Memorable sporting achievement
Winning gold in the T38 1500m at the 2019 Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Most influential person in career
His mother Ardin Tucker. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Hero / Idol
Canadian athletes Malindi Elmore and Melissa Bishop, US basketball player Blake Griffin, US American football player Pat Tillman. (Athlete, 11 Nov 2019)
Sporting philosophy / motto
"Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision." [Muhammad Ali] (csipacific.ca, 01 Jul 2019)
Awards and honours
He received The Arnold Boldt Award for Para Athlete of the Year in Ambulatory Events for both 2018 and 2019 from Athletics Canada. (insidethegames.biz, 13 Jun 2020; Athletics Canada Twitter profile, 11 Jun 2020; sirc.ca, 03 Jul 2019)
Famous relatives
His mother Ardin Tucker competed in pole vault at national level in Canada. His father Todd Riech competed in javelin for the United States of America at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. His step-father Ben Tucker was a pitcher for the San Francisco Giants baseball team. His grandfather Jim Harrison played ice hockey for Toronto, Boston, Edmonton and Chicago in the NHL. His grandmother Liz Harrison competed in equestrian for Canada. His uncle Trevor Harrison played rugby union for Canada. His cousin Georganne Moline competed in the 400m hurdles for the United States of America at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. His step-mother Brittany Borman represented the United States of America in javelin at the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games. (nationalpost.com, 06 Jul 2018; olympic.org, 01 Jan 2018; Athlete, 11 Nov 2019; SportsDeskOnline, 15 Nov 2019)
Ambitions
To win a gold medal at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo. (csipacific.ca, 01 Jul 2019; paralympic.org, 19 Dec 2020)
Impairment
At age 10 he was struck on the back of the head with a golf ball while playing with some friends. The blow caused him to have a seizure, and he no longer has control of the right side of his body through paralysis. (nationalpost.com, 06 Jul 2018; csipacific.ca, 01 Jul 2019; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)
Other information
CHANGING COACH
He says his enjoyment of running dipped during university, where he feels he underachieved due to incorrect coaching. He says he has had a "spark" in his career since leaving university and working with different coaches. "Running had become more like a job while I was in college, and I viewed my collegiate track and field career to be unsuccessful. The coaches I had in college liked to run excess mileage which affected my central nervous system quite a bit and my movement quality became very poor. This eventually led to poor performance. After moving to Arizona [United States of America] and switching coaches, there was an instant spark in my passion for the sport of track and field and running." (nategraywolfriech.blog, 28 Jan 2019)

FURTHERING THE MOVEMENT
He says expanding the reach of Para sport in Canada is the main reason why he competes. He says it is more important to him than setting records. "Records were never something I set as a goal. My two goals that I set for myself when I began competing in Para sport was to become Paralympic champion and to further the Paralympic movement in Canada because sport has had such an impact on my life and I want to make sure kids, no matter their circumstances, have the same opportunities. I want to make myself as accessible as possible so I can share my experience with other kids." (csipacific.ca, 01 Jul 2019; Athlete, 06 Nov 2019)

DUAL CITIZENSHIP
He has both US and Canadian citizenship. He says the reason he chose to represent Canada was because of all the time his Canadian mother spent with him in treatment sessions. "My mum grew up in Canada, and competed for Canada. Growing up, especially after my accident, my mum and I spent so much time together and she sacrificed so much for me at my young age. She had made sacrifices that probably weren't the best for her training for herself as an athlete." (nationalpost.com, 06 Jul 2018; torontoobserver.ca, 12 May 2020)

PODCAST
He hosts the 'Strides with GrayWolf' podcast, which focuses on high-performance sport. "My motivation for creating this podcast was to create a space for high performers in all fields to share their knowledge, in the hopes that their stories would resonate with listeners. Most of the conversations are about adversity, passion, and everything else that goes into high performance, as well as hearing the story behind the athlete." (strideswithgraywolf.wordpress.com, 26 Feb 2021)