Patrick McDonald

Olympic Wheelchair Curler


Patrick McDonald is captain of the U.S. paralympic curling team. He was a U.S. Army veteran. On November 15. 1961, while stationed in South Korea, he was in an accident which paralyzed him. He and his wife Carrie, have two children, their daughter Andie and son Kaelan. Balancing everything must be a task. Sports take a lot of time and dedication but also having a disability just makes things harder and he also has two young ones to take care of. Accommodating being leader of a team is also difficult too.

In the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, his team finished 4th. This year he was also in the Sochi Olympics.

Here are some of his achievements as a curler

  • World Wheelchair Championship: 2013 (4th), 2012 (5th), 2009 (4th)
  • Paralympic Winter Games: 2014 (5th), 2010 (4th)


He currently lives in Wisconsin with his wife and children. He lived in California, but wanted to move to Wisconsin to have better opportunities to practice. As a child he said in one interview that he liked skulls and tattoos. At age 13 his arms were full of them. In high school, he said he was into motorcycles and soccer and also football. He always was very active. His grandfather was in WWII and lost his leg. “I think having that circumstance in my life helped me quite a bit,” said McDonald. “I’ve never really noticed if people are in wheelchairs, and I think being around my grandfather when he would be using his made it no big deal.” He really looks up to his grandfather and he has helped him to deal with his disability. He tries to remain positive and that is something he will always stand for; “I learned when I was a kid that negativity stagnates and positivity generates,” quoted McDonald. “I’ve always been a positive person. Rehabbing from my accident was tough at times, but it was just the path I was on in life.

Sports as a Subculture

Curling is done on ice and the player slides his or her stone down the ice and tries to make it onto the target. The target has four rings and the object is to get the most points, the the with the most points wins. To get the most points the curlers want to aim it in the middle of the target. Each team consists of about four players. In wheelchair curling it is even more difficult because there are no sweepers and sweeping the stone is 30-40% of where the stone will go. In wheelchair curling you have to have more accuracy.


After he became paralyzed he still continued with sports. "Sports was my way of getting back into the world, I guess," said McDonald. Throughout his recovery, he used sports to help him. He played wheelchair basketball, practiced swimming, golf and tennis. He really enjoyed golf, but that wasn't really what he was spooking for. McDonald wanted to stick to one sport, and focus on just that one. In 2008 he saw curling on t.v. and was fascinated by it. He decided to take it up. So this hasn't been something he has done his whole life and he has already been to two Olympic games. He was not going to let this terrible incident affect his life and what he could and couldn't do. McDonald was team captain of the USA teams both years.


Patrick McDonald competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympic games, but USA team did not place with either bronze, silver, or gold. Just making it to the Olmpics (twice) is an accomplishment in itsself. His team consisted of David Palmer, Jimmy Joseph, Penny Greely, and Meghan Lino. They were very determined. For these athletes who are disabled, for them to be competing in the Olympics gives them confidence, that even though they might have a disability, they can still do sports and compete just like everyone else and with even more enthusiasm and dedication. McDonald loved the experience of representing USA and being in the olympic village and just hanging out with everyone.

Social Interaction/ Competition

He has gotten his children and wife into the sport as well. His wife curls and his daughter is really good at it he says. “My daughter is 10 and she is an outstanding curler,” said an excited McDonald. “She curled a few times last year and now she is a full-time curler and member of the club. Curling is something he and his wife can do together and they both enjoy it.

Because of the war, he lost his ability to walk along with all of the struggles that come with being paralyzed. Through it all he still played his sports that he loved. He also had shoulder surgery in 2011, but that was just a bump in the road for him and continued and went to the Olympics the following year.

The team all wanted to of course win, but to beat Canada; USA's main rivalry.The USA team worked hard together to try their best in the games and gave it there all. It was all something they wanted extremely badly.

Symbolic Theory

When you think of Veteran's, you think of a man who loves this country and the people in it so much that he or she would risk their life for it; they are heroes. Patrick McDonald, everything he has faced he still remains positive, he has a great outlook on life. The Olympics represent the best of the best athletes and these athletes work so hard to get here. Everyone knows and watches the Olympics, but their isn't much resignation of the Paralympics that happen after the Olympics. Why is that? They work just as hard, if not harder and they should be giving just the respect that the other olympians are given if not more.


These are the athletes that kids should look up to and call heroes. It is tragic what happened to him and what happens to many of these athletes but it is amazing that that he along with others spend their time training and shows how much love and dedication for the sport and for the country. He also is a dad and has to support his family. On the side he has helped raise 100,000 for breast cancer. He sure is trying to live his life to the fullest and continues to do what he loves. Athletes like him are the ones that should be on the magazines, or commercials. Athletes like him should be recognized for their bravery and strength.
Team USA Paralympic Wheel In Action