Tom in action. Photo: Thomas Hall

Thomas Hall is a recently retired Canadian national team athlete and a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in sprint canoe (C1 1000m). His experience with canoeing stretches over 20 years. He began paddling on family canoe trips, and, inspired by his mother (a sprint paddler) and the success his sister enjoyed at the 1993 Canada Games in sprint kayak, Thomas decided to try sprint canoeing. At 15, he followed in his sister's footsteps, winning gold and silver at the Canada Games. Thomas then set his sights on Junior Worlds, where he surprised many, including himself, by winning gold.

During his senior career, Thomas won a handful of world cup medals. He was an overall world-cup champion, a world-championship silver medalist, and—in the defining race of his career—an Olympic bronze medalist. However, those results belie the struggles he faced: "I spent most of my time losing races," he said. "It's important to me to remember those loses, as they were, and are, the critical learning points for me as an athlete, as well as a person outside of sport."

Thomas has taken what he learned in sport and is giving back to the Canadian sport community. He is a volunteer member of the Sprint Board of Directors at Canoe Kayak Canada, the national sport organization for paddle sports in Canada, as well at AthletesCAN, "The voice of Canada's national team athletes." With his athletic career now over, Thomas is beginning to flex his writing muscles. He is finishing his undergraduate degree, and will be beginning a masters in journalism in fall 2013. This May, he is planning to paddle the Northern Forest Canoe Trail, to get back to the roots of the sport he loves.