The Olympic dream was clear for Miranda Biletski from a young age.
© Times-Herald photo by Nathan Frank.
Miranda Bileski, left, chats with Roger Cook on Wednesday at the Timothy Eaton Centre. Bileski was the main speaker for the Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon.
“I became obsessed with the Olympics when I was in grade 1. You could have thrown Brad Pitt in the room and I probably wouldn’t have cared, but if you chuck Ryan Lochte or Usain Bolt, I’m like, oh my God,” said Biletski at the Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon on Wednesday.” Every time I was asked what do you want to do for a living I answered I want to be an Olympian. That’s all I ever thought about.”
For Biletski she thought her path to the Olympics would be through the game of water polo.
“I discovered water polo and instantly fell in love with it. Punching and kicking girls underwater is really fun,” she said.
However, as she told the audience at the Timothy Eaton Centre, her plans abruptly changed when she was injured diving into a pool when she was 16. She thought her dream was over, but weeks after the accident she received offers from track basketball and wheel chair rugby recruit her.
She chose the male dominated sport of rugby and her dream lived on.
Bileski joined the Canadian wheelchair rugby team in 2009 and has had to face the detractors who think she can’t compete in the sport because she is a woman.
“The bigger the stranger you goals are the more people are going to tell you can’t do it,” she said. “Right now there are only five women who play (wheelchair) rugby in the world competitively. So you get told a lot that women don’t belong in the sport.”
Biletski, though, hasn’t let anyone stop her and is now a full time amateur athlete with help from the Royal Bank of Canada.”
“I was blessed with the opportunity to work with RBC, which was definitely a game-changer for me as far as making our sport affordable,” she said. “A rugby chair costs $10,000 and you have to replace it every year and a half.”
Biletski’s next goal is to make the World Championship of rugby with her Canadian teammates this year and then make the 2016 Rio Paralympics.
“As far as my life now. Worlds is my plan in August. So I really don’t have a life,” she joked.
Nathan Frank can be reached at 306-691-1263 or follow him on Twitter @nathanfrankster