Eugene Reimer

Wheelchair Athletics - Inducted in 2003

Eugene Reimer was born and raised in Abbotsford and during his childhood contracted polio leaving him with only minimal use of his legs.

Eugene took to sports with a passion and proved that a wheelchair is not a handicap but an opportunity to excel at a wide variety of sports. Eugene was a pioneer in wheelchair sports, inspiring generations of young athletes. Eugene excelled in a wide variety of sports, including: weight lifting, archery, swimming, basketball, volleyball and track and field events.

From 1968 until his athletic retirement in 1980, Eugene achieved over fifty national and twenty-two international medals, ten of which were Olympic medals. Eugene participated in four ParaOlympic Games. The 1968 games in Israel saw Eugene winning 2 gold and one silver medal while in 1972 Eugene set new world records at the ParaOlympic Games in Heidelberg, Germany, by taking gold medals in both discus and pentathlon and a silver medal for the 4 X 60 metre relay. For this accomplishment Eugene was named the “1972 Canadian Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year”. This was the first time that this level of recognition had been awarded to an athlete with a disability.

In 1974 Eugene was awarded the “Order of Canada” by the Governor General for his inspiring example to all Canadians.

Eugene also participated in the ParaOlympics games in 1976 hosted by Canada and in 1980 where Eugene won gold in the discuss in the Netherlands.

In 1991 the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame presented Eugene with the W.A.C. Bennett Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to sports in the Province of British Columbia.

In 2000, Eugene was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame and later that year the Eugene Reimer Award was established. This award is presented annually and recognizes a British Columbian who makes an outstanding contribution in the field of sport, recreation or physical education for persons with disabilities. On May 2, 2002 Eugene was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame. In the summer of 2002 Eugene chaired the 2002 B.C. Disability Games that were held in Abbotsford. In recognition of his many contributions and his inspiration to youth, the Abbotsford School District named a new middle school the “Eugene Reimer Middle School”.

In 2007 Eugene was honored with the “Order of Abbotsford” and was named the “City of Abbotsford Citizen of the Year for 2007”.

On June 9, 2008 Eugene Reimer passed away after a brief illness. He leaves us with an inspiring and remarkable example of excelling in sport and in life regardless of any physical challenges we may face.

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