It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of 1996 Paralympic medalist in Para Sailing David Cook from Victoria, BC; on Friday, January 14, 2022, at the age of 62.
David Cook (Cookie), who was diagnosed at age 17 with a degenerative and incurable neurological disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, competed at the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta at which time Para Sailing was a demonstration sport. In the Mixed Crew Boat event, he won the silver medal along with Kenneth Kelly, John McRoberts and Kirk Westergaard.
David discovered sailing two years after his diagnosis at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club; as some coworkers were already involved in the sport. “After hearing their stories, I immediately began dreaming about sailing, and soon bought my own boat. I wanted to create my own life-long memories,” said David Cook in his blog at www.davidcook.ca. “For four decades and counting, from age 20 to present, my passion, no, obsession in life was the sport and recreation of sailing.”
He was introduced to radio-controlled model sailboat racing in 2008. “This gave me a new lease on life,” said David Cook. “Sailing gave me that ever so needed reason to live!”
Before his death, David Cook was working on his autobiography titled “Time Stops For No One” and the proceeds of the sales were to go to Muscular Dystrophy Canada as the primary beneficiary.
David was also the founder and manager of the Victoria Sailing Foundation, which aimed to support people with disabilities with a goal of building their confidence on and off the water.
Prior to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, he was one of the torchbearers who carried the flame through Great Victoria.
“Dave Cook was a legend and a great friend who inspired generations of sailors. He always brought out the best in people; always pushing others to be more, to do more. Sail on Dave.” – Steve McBride, Coach
“David is someone you will never forget. He affected so many people in so many ways. Rest in peace David!” – John McRoberts, Crewmate at the 1996 Paralympic Games