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Josh Cassidy

Josh Cassidy

Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design

Degree: Bachelor of Illustration

Year of graduation: 2009

On the Fast Track to Paralympic Glory

I am busy training for my second Paralympic Games in London in (2012). As a member of the Canadian Paralympics National Team in Beijing in 2008, I placed 10th in the Men’s 5000m gold medal wheelchair race. I was ranked first in Canada in my events and top five in the world. I am also proud to have been named Male Athlete of the Year by the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association for the third time in 2008. 

In preparation for London, I will be competing in England, Japan, New York, Atlanta, Switzerland, Australia and United Arab Emirates over the next year. 

Training is gruelling and expensive. I train twice a day, six days a week on the track, the road and in the gym. Depending on the time of year, I will log between 120 to 300 kms a week. I have come to enjoy training more as time goes on, as I have learned that my training defines who I am in competition more than anything on race day. It doesn't mean that some days I don't feel like training, but I just have to go and do it. Costs for equipment, travel, accommodations and coaching can exceed $30,000 per year. That’s why I feel so fortunate to have been chosen as one of 28 Olympic athletes to appear on General Mills “Aspiring Olympians” cereal boxes. You can support me by sending the donation code from inside the box to the General Mills website. For every donation code submitted, the company will donate one dollar to each chosen athlete. The funds go directly to the athletes to offset the high costs of equipment, travel and other expenses incurred during training. 

Juggling a demanding training regimen and heavy course load at Sheridan was very difficult. While it was stressful, I learned a lot about myself, my sport, my illustration and time management through constantly pushing the boundaries. The faculty members at Sheridan forced me to figure out how to achieve everything I wanted to, at full steam ahead. My professors were very understanding, relieving much of the academic stress, particularly when I was competing in the 2008 Paralympic Games. Their support meant a lot to me. I am so glad I had the opportunity to grow over the last six years in such an environment; the experiences, lessons and memories will last forever. 

On the career front, I am following up some promising leads I received from the 2009 San Diego Comic Con, which attracted over 130,000 people. Comic book drawings sparked my interest in art at an early age. While I enjoy doing large scale paintings, as well as editorial illustration, my first passion has always been comic books and graphic novels. I plan on securing some illustration work now, while I am still competing, before taking on a full time career once I retire from sport.

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