“Compared to when I started 24 years ago, the coverage of Para sports is day and night. Back then there was none of this, television, social media, coverage whatsoever."
Benoit Huot is a legend of Canadian summer Para sports, having won eight swimming Paralympic gold medals. But he is getting a taste of winter action now as he covers PyeongChang 2018 for a Canadian broadcaster.
“This will actually be my third Winter Paralympics,” said Huot. “I had the chance to do Vancouver at home for French media and had a very similar role for the Sochi Games. It is very exciting, a lot of work, looking forward to it.
“I love doing the media and social media work. I do a bit of media back at home. It is a lot of fun. More than the broadcast, what I like the most is sharing my passion for the Paralympic Movement, trying to grow the awareness and the visibility of the Movement. That is certainly a priority. When I am done competing hopefully I will be able to do it from a different role.
“Compared to when I started 24 years ago, the coverage of Para sports is day and night. Back then there was none of this, television, social media, coverage whatsoever.
“Only 20 years ago the media attention was quite different and for the people it was quite difficult to watch the amazing performances of the Paralympians.”
Despite wishing “swimming was a winter sport,” the 34-year-old says he finds all winter sports very exciting. “If I had to choose I would pick alpine skiing. I try to do it when I have time in my off-season. I am not very good. The speed is crazy, skiers go over 100km/h, it is unbelievable. I think I am a bit afraid of going that fast.”
Huot also recalled the Para ice hockey semi-final from Sochi 2014, which Canada lost to the USA 3-0. “They will again be the two teams to beat in PyeongChang. Hopefully it will turn our way this time. They are both great teams and wish them both good luck.”
The last major swimming competition Huot took part in was the Rio 2016 Paralympics, where he collected one bronze in the men's 400m freestyle S10.
“My next competition will be the Parapan Pacific Championships this year. I go one year at a time and re-evaluate if I want to keep going. Tokyo 2020 is still a long way, and I am not sure if I will be there in the pool,” he said.
Tickets for PyeongChang 2018 can be purchased here.
Every competition as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.