Mel Fitzgerald after winning the gold medal in the 800 meter at the Paralympics in Arnhem, 1980
The passing away of Mel Fitzgerald, Canadian Gold Medal-Winning Paralympian and
cycling icon, on October 3, 2023, was a great loss to his family and friends as well as to
the cycling community of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Mel was born in Trepassey, became involved in wheelchair sports in 1977 and
subsequently excelled as a wheelchair track athlete. He won countless marathons
nationally and internationally. Below are a few of his awards and accomplishments:
· Awarded the Order of Canada (1982)
· Set world records at two Paralympics (1980 and 1984)
· Won the Gold Cup in Australia (1984)
· Won the Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year by the Sports Federation of
· Inducted into the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Hall of Fame (2018)
Though quiet and humble, Mel was a strong supporter of disabled athletes. As a
member of the BicycleNL Board of Directors (2019-2021), Mel was instrumental in
promoting para-cycling. He was successful in securing funds to purchase hand-cycles
with the goal of enabling disabled people to become more active through hand-cycling.
Mel was a gentle and kind person who loved life and lived it to the fullest. He will be
greatly missed by members of the cycling community and indeed by all who had the
privilege of knowing him.