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About Patrick

  • Business background and credentials
  • Consensus builder as a trained facilitator
  • Significant practical work with developing countries including developing and leading transfer of knowledge programs
  • Experience working in multicultural environment from involvement in international development work
  • A life of being a sportsperson including a Paralympian
  • Leader of a winter National Sport Federation

Who is Patrick Jarvis?

Patrick Jarvis has been a proud champion of the global Paralympic movement since representing Canada at the Barcelona Paralympic Games in 1992.

Whether competing on the field, working to support athletes, coaches and administrators during his 12-year tenure with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), Patrick has built a reputation for integrity, collaboration, and belief in continuous improvement. Educated in engineering and a subject-matter expert in leadership training and development, Patrick has lived, competed and successfully run major projects and initiatives in more than 100 countries worldwide. As President of the IPC, he would bring a proven track record of cooperative governance, effective leadership, and passionate belief in the future of the Paralympic community.

Patrick is, tough, fair, and says it like it is. He’s about making things better and doing things better. He’s competed as an athlete so he’s lived the ups and downs of the Paralympic journey. He’s an accomplished and experienced administrator, who’s lived and worked in more than 80 countries.

He’s so obviously in this for the right reasons. You can see by the way he talks with people – regardless of their position – that he believes in fairness, equity and that we can all be lifelong learners. If that’s the kind of community we want, Patrick’s the kind of leader we need.

Patrick's Journey

I got involved in the Paralympic movement for three reasons. First, curiosity. Second, anger. Third, resolve to make something better. Here’s what happened.

Growing up, home was a small, Canadian prairie town of 150 people. Our extended family were farmers and they worked hard for everything they had, whether it was the food on their plates or the roof over their heads.

There were six kids in my house and we learned to figure out what needed to get done, and then worked together to do it. If you wanted more, you worked harder, worked smarter, and then brought in more people to get the job done.

At eight years old, I lost my arm to an accident. I received a total of two weeks to feel sorry for myself and then my father, a veteran of the 1939-1945 World War, took me outside in the yard to re-learn how to use a hammer. In Canada, we call this “tough love”; I was going to have to feed myself one day needed to learn to fend for myself.

I was always an athlete. My school years were all about sports. I played American Football, Rugby and thought I was fantastic. Nothing I’d achieved to that point suggested otherwise.

When I was first approached about disability Sport, I wanted nothing to do with it. But once I was engaged by the right person, who put it in the right context for me, I was fascinated and eager to participate. At the same time, it was still tough to reconcile my sense of self as athlete, with an environment surrounded by others who had a wide range of different disabilities.

Nevertheless, I got involved. I started with Skiing and then moved into Athletics. I did what I was told to qualify for the Seoul Paralympics. But when I showed up for the trials and performed well, I was not asked to join the team. I was then told the team had been all but formally picked six months prior.

I was confused. And then I was furious. This was not how Sport should be.

I thought: you can’t treat people like this; like we’re just objects of pity, or sympathy, and that it’s all just a random chance to participate.  That’s no way to run things. For this to be Sport, it must be professional, it must be standardised, and it must be equitable.

I doubled my efforts, and made the Canadian team for the next Games in 1992. I placed 11th in the Games but by that point, I had my eye on a bigger objective. My “gold medal victory” would be standards and equity within the Paralympic movement. That’s why I got involved in administration, and that’s a big part of why I’m still involved today.

Patrick's Vision

Learn more about Patrick's Vision for the International Paralympic Committee.