Brent Lakatos: From Canada via Loughborough with all eyes on Paris (VIDEO)

On first inspection, the Canadian city of Dorval has few similarities with Loughborough.

Delve a little deeper though and one common denominator begins to shine through – it also happens to create Paralympic and World Champions.

Canada-born Brent Lakatos spent most of his formative years here, a stone’s throw from the bustling metropolis of Montréal. In a career that has spanned multiple continents and even more Paralympic Games medals – 11 in total – his story is one of true inspiration.

A keen sportsman from an early age, Brent’s life took a dramatic turn when he was involved in a freak ice-skating accident aged six that left him paralysed.

Following unwavering support from his family, he showed incredible drive and determination to still engage in sport. After taking up wheelchair basketball and then wheelchair racing, his talent soon shone through and a career competing for medals beckoned.

Fast forward a few years and after a period working and training in the US, Brent would meet his wife, the now retired British Paralympian Stef Reid.

With the London 2012 Paralympic Games on the horizon, Stef was regularly training out of Loughborough, and it wouldn’t be long before Brent began to call the East Midlands home too.

“My journey and career has really been all over the place,” Brent told Loughborough Sport.

“I grew up in Canada and started in wheelchair basketball and soon transitioned to wheelchair racing. For a while I was living and working in the US and then my wife started training out of the HiPAC (High Performance Athletics Centre – Loughborough University).

“In the lead up to London (2012 Paralympic Games) she was spending months at a time training over here and I was living in the US. We finally decided that it was really hard on our marriage, so I moved over in 2013 and I’ve been here ever since!”

As Stef now enjoys time away from the pressures of elite-level sport she still manages to push Brent all the way in training as she keeps fit for recreational triathlon.

“It’s great having a spouse involved in sport,” Brent said. “When we were both competing, we weren’t training as much together as we are now…but someone who understands the highs and lows is so important…she’s the best training partner I’ve ever had.”

Looking into Brent’s medal cabinet and it’s easy to see that he’s never shied away from the hard yards. In addition to the huge haul of Paralympic Games podium places, he boasts a further 19 World Championships accolades.

“I do have lots of medals,” Brent humbly admits. “If you look at them throughout my career, most of them come in the second half or last third.

“I’ve always been experimenting with new things – new equipment, new training – so I was steadily improving. Once I started medalling then I kept on medalling and the colours started getting better too.”

From someone who has seemingly won every competition going, has he thought about following Stef into a life of rest?

Not quite.

“I kind of did retire – I took a lot of time off and I then decided to come back,” he said.

“I wasn’t too happy with the way Tokyo (2020 Paralympic Games) went. I didn’t quite end it the way I wanted, so I’ve come back with the hopes of going to Paris 2024 and winning gold.”

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 23/185

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2022 QS World University Rankings – the sixth year running – and University of the Year for Sport by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2022.

Loughborough is ranked 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2023, 10th in the Guardian University League Table 2023 and 11th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’, and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021 over 90% of its research was rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally-excellent’. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.