Para triathlete Stefan Daniel focuses on 2021 in his pursuit of gold

CALGARY — 23-year-old Stefan Daniel was born with arms shorter than most people.  It’s a condition called Radial Club Hand.

He says his right arm is impacted more than his left arm.

“I’m basically missing the radius bone in my right hand,” he said. “It makes my forearm much shorter.”

Daniel never let his condition get in the way of his sports.  He’s a para triathlete and he says the only discipline that it affects is his swimming.

But if he’s ever feeling down or looking for inspiration, Daniel says he just looks at his older brother, Christian.

“He grew up with cerebral palsy.  We grew up swimming together and he was maybe the slowest guy in the club,” he said.

Stefan and Christian Daniel

“But he was always the hardest working guy and that rubbed off on me.”

Did it ever.  Stefan only started competing in para triathlon in 2013 where he quickly rose up the ranks.

In 2016, Daniel become the first Canadian triathlete to ever win a Paralympic Games medal.  He came home with a silver from the Rio games, something he says he’s very proud of.

“I was 19 and it’s something I’ll never forget,” he said. “You hear the crowds screaming the entire time and you can’t hear yourself think.  I did everything I could on that day, but got beat by the better athlete.  I wanted gold going in but was super proud of that silver medal.”

As proud as he is of the silver medal, Daniel wants a gold medal more than anything else.

He thought he’d have a chance to add gold to his collection this year.  But the Summer Paralympic Games in Tokyo, Japan were postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stefan Daniel

But rather than be disappointed, Daniel just worked harder.  And he knows he’s lucky to be a triathlete. Over the summer he put in plenty of hard work near his parent’s home in Bearspaw, where he says there’s plenty of places to run, swim and bike.

“I was able to take the time and focus on different stuff.  I was able to improve my bike power,” he said. 

“I got in some good training and hopefully everything goes well next year and i can put this training to work.”

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