|PHOTO: SPENCER WYNN|
Thursday, June 25, 2015
For the better part of the day, Adam Lancia has been teaching visitors to this outdoor urban basketball court how to race around the court and shoot a basketball while riding a wheelchair. Several chairs are lined up for people to use and test their skills against this well decorated Olympic athlete.
Around his neck Adam wears gold medals from the Athens Olympics and the London Olympics. Because of the fragile jade in the medal, he has left the Beijing Olympic silver medal at home.
Born in Toronto, Adam is a wheelchair basketball player who has been on the National Team since 2001. He has also played on the Junior National team in 1997 and 2001. Growing up, Adam started played basketball at the age of nine at Variety Village in Toronto's east end.
A bilateral amputee, Adam was born without his feet and ankles and has been using prosthetics since he was one year old. By trade, he is a prosthetic technician, for which he went to George Brown College for their prosthetic and orthotic programme.
Currently Adam is working for the RBC Olympians programme which hires both Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes as community ambassadors who bring Olympic messages of excellence and leadership to Canadian communities.
The Para Pan Am Games in Toronto this summer will see Adam play for Canada. His wife, also a wheel chair athlete will also be playing basketball for the Canadian women's team. "Playing at home is a phenomenal experience. I've been lucky enough to play in Toronto once before at the 1997 Junior World Championships," Adam says of the pride he feels with a home crowd cheering the team on.
At 35, after living and playing around the world, Adam lives in Toronto and is a father of a 2-year old girl. Adam's wife is currently away at a training camp in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
ADAM FUN FACT: "There are certain countries that will not let somebody in a wheel chair on a daily basis, bring their wheel chair with them past security. They actually require them to get out of their personal wheel chair and use one of the airport wheel chairs," he explains, even though the traveller's chairs are thoroughly checked and screened. Though Adam walks with prosthetics, this security issue affects his other team mates who must use a chair full time. It is mystifying and angers him since there seems to be no logical reason for this. "It doesn't affect me, but it does affect my team mates who are like my extended family.