#36: Donald Royer

Written by Dr. Bob Steadward

Dr. Donald Royer is the longest serving leader in the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Associations’ history. He has dedicated his personal and professional life to athletes with a disability as well as the entire Paralympic movements for nearly 50 years. His unselfish commitment, sacrifice and loyalty has been felt and experienced at the local, provincial, national and international level. Donald is truly one of our iconic leaders.

At the provincial level Donald has been the President of the Quebec Wheelchair Sports Association, now Parasports Quebec, from 1983 to the present day, except for one year in 2012. That is 34 years of dedication and involvement. Donald served a term as President of the Quebec Council of People with Disabilities from 1992-1995 and as Vice President of Sports Quebec from 2002-2008. For his efforts, dedication and leadership, Donald was elected to the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame in 2014 and was the recipient of the Jacques Beauchamp Tribute at the Sports Quebec Gala in 2015.

At the national level Dr. Royer was a member of the CWSA Board of Directors from 1975-1999 and then was elected President, a position he holds to this very day. During this period of time, Donald has also served as Vice President of Wheelchair Basketball Canada over the past 20 years. For his volunteer efforts with Wheelchair Basketball Canada, he was elected to their Sports Hall of Fame in 1994. The Canadian Paralympic Committee also elected Donald to their Sports Hall of Fame in 2016. In 1992, Donald received the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation Medal from the Government of Canada.

Donald Royer meets Pope John Paul II
Donald Royer meets Pope John Paul II

Dr. Royer continued his loyal volunteer work at the international scene with the International Wheelchair Sports Federation (IWSF) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). Between 1981 and 1997 Donald served as an executive member, as Vice President and as President of the International Wheelchair Sports Federation. From 1993-1997 he was a member of the Executive Committee of the IPC. However, his greatest contribution was made directly to the athletes. He worked tirelessly to develop the sport of Powerlifting at the international level for more than 20 years. He also conducted a countless number of training sessions for sport for athletes with a disability over many years in West Africa, in countries such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Mali, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Benin, Cameron, Tunisia, Niger and Madagascar. For his contributions to the Paralympic movement Dr. Royer received the Paralympic Order in 2001.

Dr. Donald Royer has touched so many athletes, at so many events, under so many circumstances and in so many ways from Olympic demonstration events, to Paralympic Games, to World Championships, to Jeux de la Francophonie, to Wheelchair Rugby and throughout the Powerlifting community. What a remarkable contribution from a remarkable, humble man.

We are so very fortunate to have Donald as a member of the CWSA family!