Overcoming hardships and building prospects may be hard for some, but Georgian Sport Administration student Dylan Hermans proves that passion and a positive mindset can drive success.
Hermans grew up with a vision impairment, feeling it was an anchor holding him down. That changed in high school when a teacher recruited him for track. He excelled in the 100-metre run and won his first gold medal through the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations.
Soon after, Athletics Canada recruited Hermans and since then, he’s been shocking and impressing coaches with his quick ability to come out of the blocks. “I remember when I first started having an interest for the sport and grew up watching my idol Usain Bolt,” says Hermans. “Track has become a release for me, where all my problems just disappear.”
Hermans and his teammates at Athletics Canada recently competed at the World Para Athletics Junior Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland. Hermans ran the 100- and 200-metre sprints, setting a new personal best in the 100-metre by 0.4 seconds. “The feeling of representing Canada is indescribable,” says Hermans. “There were so many incredible people there and the stories that everyone shared were inspirational.”
Hermans’ run time at the World Juniors placed him in the selection pool for the 2020 Summer Paralympics in Tokyo. Making Canada’s NextGen team is the first step to competing at the Paralympics. Leading up to the event, Hermans will be training with the club team I Be Fast, which is led by former Olympian Craig Blackman. He’ll also be attending training camps across the world as directed by NextGen and Athletics Canada, working under Glenn Roy Gilbert and alongside athletes such as Aaron Brown, Andre De Grasse, George Quarcoo, Crystal Emmanuel and many more.
The support Hermans received from Athletics Canada inspired him to pursue an education in sports administration. Hermans explains that he chose Georgian for its competitive programs. “My experience at Georgian so far has definitely been one to remember. Georgian has been very welcoming and accommodating with my visual impairment,” says Hermans. “Professors can always find a way to make class enjoyable and exciting.”
Hermans will graduate in 2018 with a Sport Administration diploma and sees a future as a Development Recruiter helping upcoming athletes and giving back to the sports community. “I hope to encourage more young athletes around Canada to engage in sports and not to give up. You may not be good at it now, but with practice and optimism anything is possible,” says Hermans.