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Gryphon Gallery: Liam Stanley

At birth, he suffered a stroke and was left with a right side weakness, but from a very early age, this did not hinder his zest for sport. Running, basketball, rugby and soccer were a few of the many activities he participated in at school with great enthusiasm and success, soccer in particular taken to another level with Bays United.

At 14, he was ‘spotted’ by the national coach for paralympic soccer and played three times that year for Canada. He went on to play 39 times for his country and was awarded the Player of the Year for the team in 2013 and 2014, as well as BC Soccer Youth Player of the year in 2014. 

When the team did not qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Liam turned that insatiable desire to compete there, by training with Olympic marathon runner Bruce Deacon to successfully qualify in the 1500m track. In front of a crowd of family, friends and supporters watching the streamed event in Denford Hall, Liam ran to a silver medal at the Maracana Stadium.

He played soccer internationally for one more year, but focused more on his running, following up his Olympic experience with more silver at the 2017 World Championships—setting Canadian records in 1500m and 800m—and the 2019 Parapan American Games. To recognize those feats of 2017 he was named 2017 Ambulatory Athlete of the Year by Athletics Canada and Athlete of the Year with a Disability by Sport BC. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, he was the top runner in his category and would later that same year, set a World Record for the men’s T37 5000m clocking 15:54.5 at the Centennial Stadium in Victoria.

To paraphrase the sentiments of his very proud father, he is blessed with amazing focus, putting everything into everything he does, with a true sense of truth and courage—and he’s not finished yet!