Athlete | Wheelchair Athletics
Abbotsford Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2003
Eugene Reimer was born and raised in Abbotsford. During his childhood he contracted polio, leaving him with only minimal use of his legs.
Reimer took to sports with a passion and proved that a wheelchair is not a handicap but an opportunity to excel at a wide variety of sports. He was a pioneer in wheelchair sports, inspiring generations of young athletes. He excelled in a wide variety of sports, including weight lifting, archery, swimming, basketball, volleyball and track and field events.
From 1968 until his athletic retirement in 1980, Reimer achieved over 50 national and twenty-two international medals, 10 of which were Paralympic medals. He participated in four Paralympic Games. At the 1968 games in Israel, he won two gold medals and one silver. In 1972, he set new world records at the Paralympic Games in Heidelberg, Germany, taking gold medals in both discus and pentathlon and a silver medal in the 4×60-metre relay. For this accomplishment, Reimer was named Canada’s Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year for 1972. This was the first time that this level of recognition had been awarded to an athlete with a disability.
In 1974, Reimer was awarded the Order of Canada by the Governor General for his inspiring example to all Canadians.
Reimer also participated in the Paralympics games in 1976 hosted by Canada and in 1980 in the Netherlands, where he won gold in the discus.
In 1991, the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame presented Reimer with the W.A.C. Bennett Award, in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to sports in the province.
In 2000, Reimer was inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, and later that year the Eugene Reimer Award was established. This award is presented annually and recognizes a British Columbian who makes an outstanding contribution in the field of sport, recreation or physical education for persons with disabilities.
In 2002, Reimer was inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, and later that year, he chaired the B.C. Disability Games which were held in Abbotsford. In recognition of his many contributions and his inspiration to youth, the Abbotsford School District named a middle school after him.
In 2007, Reimer was honored with the Order of Abbotsford and was named the City of Abbotsford Citizen of the Year.
On June 9, 2008, Reimer passed away after a brief illness. He leaves us with an inspiring and remarkable example of excelling in sport and in life regardless of any physical challenges we may face.