#SportForEVERYBody with Susan Wang: Breaking Barriers in Sport

May 01, 2024

At viaSport, we’re passionate about capturing authentic, diverse, and influential stories from all in the BC sport community. To celebrate National AccessAbility Week from May 26 – June 1, we’re amplifying voices of athletes with disabilities, as well as furthering our ongoing commitment to making BC sport more diverse, inclusive, and accessible.

The following story is a part of our #SportForEVERYBody campaign.

Despite being an accomplished athlete for over a decade, Susan Wang’s journey was not without challenges.

Throughout her whole life, Susan Wang struggled with balance. She was only able to start walking at the age of two and would still fall frequently at the age of nine. Eager to help her get involved in her community and engage in physical activity, her parents introduced her to sport through different sport camps and team tryouts.

“Trying sports was hard since I struggled with not only balance, but also hand-eye coordination,” says Susan. “Even though I tried out, I didn’t make many sport teams. In the ones that I was able to join, I had challenges keeping up.”

Susan eventually joined Special Olympics and fell in love with alpine skiing. Through weaving past twists and turns, she felt a noticeable improvement with not only her balance, but also her overall health.

“Even though people have said hurtful things, I never let that stop me from trying to accomplish my goals and doing the best I can,” says Susan. “People never believed I could accomplish great things in sport until I joined Special Olympics.”

In 2016, she won her very first gold medal at Nationals and then went on to win a bronze medal at the World Games in Austria in 2017. Her future goals include entering future alpine skiing competitions and being named to Team Canada for the 2029 Winter World Games.

“Sport is important to me because it inhabits sportsmanship, determination, joy, and so much more,” says Susan. “It can move people closer together and make us more active. Through participating in sport, I am more confident and I found a sense of belonging.”

Susan Wang was recently selected to serve as one of the ten Special Olympics 2024-2027 Sargent Shriver Global Messengers (SSGM), a prestigious spokesperson role for the global sports movement. SSGMs are strong communicators that lead the campaign for a more inclusive world for people with disabilities.

Susan hopes to see more folks with disabilities carve their path in the sport landscape. Her advice? Find a sport you enjoy and never give up.

“There are always going to be challenges, but the most important thing is to believe in yourself and do the best you can,” says Susan. “You’ve got this and all of the hard work will be worth it. Don’t let anything get in the way of you achieving your goals and dreams!”