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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

DR. ROBERT STEADWARD

Inducted in 2007

Member Details

Date of Birth: May 26, 1946
Place of Birth: Eston, Saskatchewan
Sport: Para Athletics
Member Category: Builder

Career Highlights

1984

Inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

1995

Robert Jackson Award

King Clancy Award

1996

Inducted into the Edmonton Sports Hall of Fame

Dr. Robert D. Steadward Award created in his honour

1997

University of Alberta's Rutherford Award

2000

The Steadward Centre for personal and physical achievement was dedicated (formerly the Rick Hansen Centre)

2002

Inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame

1999

Named an Officer of the Order of Canada

Honoured Member DR. ROBERT STEADWARD
Inspire

Story

Without Robert Steadward, it is possible that the state of disability sport would still be somewhere between the Dark Ages and the Ice Age. It was he who dared to promote disability sport at the international level, brought it to the world's attention, and gave it a life. It was he who became the founding president of the International Paralympic Committee in 1989 and brought these sports into a cohesive whole-the Paralympic Games-to promote sport by athletes with disability the world over. Steadward's determination and success in these regards simply cannot be overstated. Steadward attended the University of Alberta for his undergraduate and Masters Degree programs and earned a Ph.D. at the University of Oregon before returning to the U of A. As a coach and administrator, he has spent thousands and thousands of hours volunteering on behalf of athletes with disability. Internationally, Steadward started working at the Universiade and Commonwealth Games, moving toward the Olympics where he could maximize his effectiveness. He served as IPC president for 12 years after which he was named its honourary president. During his later career he was elected a member of the IOC. It was under his aegis that the Olympics started to hold a Paralympic Games in conjunction with the able-bodied games, giving the Parlympics an unprecedented level of support, respect, and funding, elements that remain crucial to supporting and uniting all athletes as one, regardless of physical ability. As important as his international successes is the Steadward Centre at the U of A, a remarkable facility which offers sport and fitness programs for people with disability as well as research components. It is a place where athletes with disability can go not only to train but to test their abilities, develop regimens for a healthier life, and reach their full physical potential despite their outward limitations. Steadward has published more than 150 papers on disability sport and has received dozens of honours during his career, notably being named an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has been given Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Leuven, Belgium and U of A , Edmonton. More than any award, however, he can quantify his contributions by seeing the Paralympic Games staged every four years beside the Olympics, the best athletes from around the world competing on the world stage, as one.


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