In part one of this two part exclusive interview with current number one ranked British 100m Paralympic Athlete (and sixth in the world) Richard Vincent Chiassaro, we looked at Richard the athlete. In this second part of the interview, we look more into the personal side of Richard.
1. I have been lucky enough to see the time you devote to coaching disabled kids. Why do you do this, and how do you find the time?
I coach because I do not want to be only a Paralympic Champion, but I also want to help others become champions too. I want to give back what I have learned to someone else, and hopefully they will pass on what they have learned as well. I don't treat the kids I coach as my athletes; I treat them as my friends. I make training fun. I have athletes ranked in the top six in their class in the UK and an eleven year old that's number one in the UK for his age group.
I want to teach them to be independent. For instance, every session I give them tasks to do away from the track that will help them in their everyday lives, like learning to vacuum or learning to wash their training clothes. It's just simple things that everyone should be able to do, but they can't. So if they come back to me next session and have not done it, then they get a forfeit. One of the lads had to make his parents a cup of tea, and the parents didn't know. But when he offered them the tea, it made them so happy that their son was trying. That's why I do it, and that's why I find the time to do it.
2. What do you value most in life?
What I value most is playing basketball, and without basketball I wouldn't be sane. I look forward to playing with my team every week, and it keeps me wanting to race. There's only so many times you can lap a track without needing a change of scenery.
3. Who was your hero growing up?
I wouldn't say I looked up to any famous individuals when I was growing up. I would look up to anyone in any walk of life who was dedicated to what they did and worked hard to achieve what they set out to achieve.
4. If you could change one thing about the perception of disabled athletes, what would it be?
I understand that all disabilities are different and some are much worse than others, but just because someone is a bit different, it does not mean you can't be normal with them. It's not people being rude; they just don't understand disabilities and don't want to offend.
But the one thing I would change would be the attitude towards disabled athletes. I would like disabled athletes and able-bodied athletes to all be seen as just "athletes." I would like disabled athletes, especially the kids, to be recognized for their hard work and dedication as much as abled-bodied athletes.
5. What would you say to other disabled people looking to get into sports?
I would tell anyone with a disability to take up a sport. Some won't be world champions, but it will give you a better quality of life. It will improve your health and strength, and that will make everyday living easier. So please consider taking up a sport.
6. As this article is going out to our friends in America, have you ever competed in the U.S.? What are your thoughts on the U.S.?
I recently competed in America, and it was amazing! What a great county with some talented athletes. The meets were well organized, and the facilities were some of the best I have raced at. I could see myself living in the U.S. in the future.
7. If you could have dinner with any three people who ever lived, who would they be? And why?
The three people I would have dinner with would be THE ROCK (Dwayne Johnson) because that man is a dude! Jen Selta because she is beautiful, and EMINEM because he is unbelievably talented.
8. How do you want Richard Vincent Chiassaro to be remembered?
I want to be remembered. That's it. If it's for what I do in racing or for who I have helped, it does not matter to me. I just want to be remembered.
Richard in his own time is fundraising to help with the equipment costs for the disabled kids he coaches. Please see the work Richard is doing in helping support disabled children have a better quality of life.
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