Natacha Dupuis is making the most of her journey at the Invictus Games. Starting in athletics, the Team Canada co-captain captured three gold in front of a roaring crowd at York Lions Stadium in Toronto.
Overcoming extreme heat and humidity that blanketed the city, Natacha led the field in the IT6/IT7 100-metre, IT6/IT7 200-metre and IT7 400-metre events, capturing gold in all three. She broke away from the pack in the 200-metre event, beating Australian silver medallist Heidi Joosten by 0.84 of a second.
The day after winning three gold medals, Natacha competed in the indoor rowing competitions at the Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre. She placed fifth in the IR6 four-minute endurance event and won silver in the IR6 one-minute sprint.
Knowing she wanted to be a soldier since the age of 12, Natacha served with the Canadian military for more than 16 years. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress injury (PTSI) prior to her retirement, picking up sports was her opening back to a healthy life.
She began with a mountain bike, but her path to health evolved into so much more. Finding a sense of calm and focus through sport, Natacha joined Team Canada at the Invictus Games in Orlando in 2016, where she won gold in both the IT7 100-metre and IT7 200-metre races, and a bronze in powerlifting.
Continuing her dominance in athletics, Natacha looked for a new sport to continue her rehabilitation, competing for the first time in indoor rowing at this year’s Games.
Performing in front of a home crowd and among fellow soldiers, Natacha’s participation in the Games goes far beyond the medals gathering around her neck. Continually battling against the demons of operational stress injury and PTSI, she is finding a sense of identity as a competitor and colleague at the Invictus Games.
Natacha is honoured to be serving as Canada’s co-captain, along with fellow competitor Simon Mailloux, and says the impact that the 2017 Invictus Games have on competitors, their family and friends, along with Canada, can’t be underestimated. “I’m proud to be wearing the Maple Leaf again — especially at home in Canada — as I compete in my second Invictus Games.”