Richard Hortness


Growing up in Cloverdale, BC, I was very fortunate to play all kinds of sports – including soccer, baseball and swimming. At about age 12 I dropped baseball, but I was still doing both soccer and swimming at a high level and it got to the point that I had to choose to focus on just one. Deciding to go with swimming was a great decision, until the hidden costs associated with swimming year-round came to light and my family could no longer afford it. I had verbalized my dream to become an Olympian in grade 7 and having that dream in peril after having dropped my other sports made it a hard realization.  It was a KidSport grant that allowed me to continue swimming when my family ran out of money to pay for sports.

I am who I am today because there were people willing to donate enough money (about $200 back then) to allow me to train for one more season as a budding swimmer. Everything that I am today – as an adult, a school teacher and a father – is because of the experiences I had in sport. I feel that everyone who plays individual or team sports is shaped by the lessons it teaches them. My first résumé after I left sport was literally a two column list of skills that I learned in my schooling leading to my professional career, and a list of the skills that I gained from being an athlete. That was it!

Sport changes your life and the lives of those around you. Now that I’m a teacher, I am working with students with emotional disorders and anxiety issues and teaching them how to deal with the heightened emotional states that they experience in games and how that relates to the real world.  I try to give back every day to the community that helped raise me to the level that was so fortunate to be able to achieve. I think that’s my duty, both as an Olympian but also as a past recipient of a KidSport grant. There are no words to express my thanks, except the most sincere “thank you”.

Courtesy of: kidSport Canada 

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