Tag Archives: Paralympians

Hosted by Paralympians Greg Westlake and Travis Murao, the AMI original series Beyond the Field debuts Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv

From a media release:

With the Paralympic Games in Tokyo just weeks away, AMI is excited to announce the debut of Beyond the Field on Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv.

An AMI original production, Beyond the Field examines important issues impacting the world of sport, specifically parasport. Hosts—and Paralympians—Greg Westlake (AMI-tv’s Level Playing Field) and Travis Murao raise awareness and push the conversation forward through discussions with elite para-athletes, experts and coaches.

“I’m proud to bring Beyond the Field to audiences in advance of the Paralympic Games,” says Michelle Dudas, Senior Producer at AMI-tv. “The discussions that Greg and Travis have with their guests shed a light on important issues and challenges that need to be addressed.”

Beyond the Field, hosted by Greg Westlake and Travis Murao, episode premiere dates and synopses:

Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Racial Diversity in Sport”
Paralympians Kieran Block and Richard Peter talk diversity in parasport.

Monday, July 19, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Sport”
Paralympian Ness Murby and educator Christine Hsu discuss the growing fight for LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports and what can be done for the future.

Monday, July 26, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Mental Health Preparation”
We explore the topic of mental health and mental preparation with Paralympians Alison Levine and Lowell Taylor.

Monday, August 2, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Coaching with a Disability”
Coaches David Willsie and Peggy Assinck discuss coaching in parasport.

Monday, August 9, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Recruitment and Grassroots Support”
We explore the importance of recruitment and grassroots support for athletes of all ages with Variety Village’s Archie Allison and Paralympic curler Sonja Gaudet.     

Monday, August 16, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern
“Life After Sport”
Paralympian-turned-lawyer Josh Vander Vies and nurse-turned-Paralympic hopeful Sarah Anne Cormier talk life after sport.

Additionally, the companion podcast Beyond the Field: Uncut offers deeper discussions with Greg, Travis and their guests. Download Beyond the Field: Uncut from your favourite podcasting platform.

In keeping with AMI’s mandate of making accessible media for all Canadians, Season one of Beyond the Field features Integrated Described Video (IDV) making it accessible to individuals who are blind or partially sighted.

Host Greg Westlake
Para ice hockey team captain Greg Westlake helped Canada to the silver medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

At the World Para Ice Hockey Championships in Gangneung, South Korea, in April 2017, Greg, a forward, helped Canada defeat arch-rivals U.S.A. to win a record fourth world title for the Canadians. The win marked his third world championship gold: Greg was on teams that won in 2008, 2013 and 2017.

Greg competed at his third Paralympic Games in 2014, in Sochi, and collected a second career Paralympic medal as Canada won the bronze. Greg finished the Sochi Paralympic Games tournament with four points in five games, including an assist on Billy Bridges’ insurance goal in the bronze medal game 3-0 victory over Norway.

Host Travis Murao
Travis Murao was introduced to wheelchair rugby by Duncan Campbell, one of the inventors of the sport. He started playing while still in G.F. Strong Rehabilitation Centre and quickly became hooked on the intellectual side of the sport.

Travis is known for his sense of humour and his love of reading. He’s blogged about wheelchair rugby and starred in the humorous web series “Wheelchair Rugby Talk with Trav n’ Trev,” with teammate Trevor Hirschfield.

Travis’ passion for both English Literature and wheelchair rugby took him to Tucson, where he studied English at the University of Arizona and won a United States Quad Rugby Association national championship title with the Tucson Pterodactyls. Now, Travis is living in Toronto and training full-time in the hopes of capturing gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Beyond the Field debuts Monday, July 12, at 8:30 p.m. Eastern on AMI-tv. Stream episodes post-broadcast on AMI.ca or using the AMI-tv App.


AMI’s Mind Set Go inspires Canadians to transform their minds and bodies

I truly relate to the participants of AMI-tv’s documentary series, Mind Set Go, which kicks off its second season on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET. I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life and have had to deal with the mental blocks that kept me from achieving my health and fitness goals. Over the past few years, I changed my focus from short-term fixes to a long-term wellness plan, and I’ve lost around 50 pounds. Despite that success, it’s still a daily challenge, and I often have days when I have to battle negative thoughts.

As it so happens, overcoming negative thoughts is the entire point of Mind Set Go, which follows the journeys of eight overweight Canadians as they attempt to change their lives for the healthier.

Para-athlete Pamela LeJean helps Mind Set Go participant Danielle on her fitness journey.

“It’s all about the brain, and it’s all about your mindset,” supervising producer Sophie Morgadinho explains during a phone interview from Toronto. “It’s not like a diet. It’s stopping the behaviours that are causing you to be unhealthy, and it really starts with changing the way you think about yourself and what you’re doing every day.”

Helping the show’s participants to transform their outlooks and bodies are fitness and health experts Julie and Lowell Taylor (The Amazing Race Canada) and a group of Canadian Paralympians. One of those Paralympians is Para Hall of Famer and retired para-alpine skier Karolina Wisniewska, who says she was thrilled to take part in the series.

“I think the thing that appealed to me most of all was this opportunity to be in a position to kind of inspire or help someone based on the things I learned as a high-performance athlete,” she says. “And on another maybe more personal level, I retired from alpine skiing in 2011 due to a concussion, and after my retirement, I too had struggled with maintaining my fitness. So I could really relate to what maybe some of these participants on the show were experiencing themselves.”

Each expanded, one-hour episode of the show follows a participant as he or she attempts to get fit and triumph over some of the mental hurdles that have tripped them up in the past. For self-professed “sugar addict” Dana, who is featured in the season premiere and paired with Paralympian powerlifter Ness Murby, that means confronting the grief she tried to suppress with food after her father died. For formerly fit Darryl, who is featured in the sixth episode and paired with Wisniewska, that means coming to grips with a degenerative hearing condition that left him profoundly deaf.

“My strong feeling with Daryl was that he just really needed somebody to bounce ideas off of and to talk him through it and to kind of think about what was resonating with him,” says Wisniewska. “The second aspect, I think, is that he did need a bit of a kick in the butt.”

Para Hall of Famer and former para-alpine skier Karolina Wisniewska.

Wisniewska was more than happy to provide that kick. While she says her history of concussions makes her very empathetic towards those who are facing adversity, being born with cerebral palsy makes her want to push able-bodied people to meet their full fitness potential.

“I’m someone who was born with a disability, and I’ve never understood able-bodied people who take their bodies for granted,” she says. “So that’s where my competitive athlete side comes out, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my god. Stop making excuses. You have no excuse, just do it.'”

At the beginning of their journeys, Dana, Darryl and the other participants all choose a physical challenge to complete at the end of their three-month transformations. These challenges, which include a mountain climb and a long-distance bike ride, are designed to provide a measuring stick for the physical and mental progress each person has made. While the Taylors and the Paralympians are a key part of the process, in the end, the participants have to look inside themselves for the inspiration they need to succeed–a situation Wisneiwska is very familiar with.

“At the end of the day, in ski racing, you’re at the top of the hill, you have to kick out of the start gate, and you have to race that race,” she says. “Nobody else is going to do it.”

According to Morgadinho, watching people overcome their mental demons and achieve their health goals was a motivating experience for everyone involved with the series.

“Working on the show, I have to tell you, it’s been really inspiring because I see people make transformations in their lives,” she says. “And it’s not like Biggest Loser. You’re not going to see someone come back 100 pounds lighter. It’s not about that. But you see a difference in their confidence and their happiness, and they’re healthier, they look better.”

She continues, “For me, it’s very inspiring to look at the things that I can change and go, ‘I know I’m in control of this. I have to change how I look at the problem and how I look at the solution.’ I hope that viewers are also inspired to make positive, healthy changes.”

Upcoming episodes of the series feature Canadian Paralympians  Michelle Stilwell, David Willsie, Ina Forrest, Pamela LeJean, Shawna Ryan and Andrew Haley.

Mind Set Go airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on AMI-tv.

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