Winnipeg’s Chantal Givens races with 3D printed handlebar in the Paralympic Games
Fainstein designed the handlebar to enable Givens to grip it differently.
This Olympic season has shown off the talents of some of Canada’s greatest athletes. And three-time Canadian paratriathlon champion Chantal Givens gave it her all as part of Canada’s very first paratriathlon team.
Winnipegger Givens competed in the sport’s Paralympic debut at the Rio games on September 11, 2016 with help from Red River College instructor Leon Fainstein.
Givens was born missing her left hand and Fainstein has been working closely with her to modify the bicycle she used for competing in Brazil.
Fainstein designed the handlebar to enable Givens to grip it differently. This modification gave her the ability move and adjust her positioning for better support. The team went through about 15 different iterations before arriving at the current model, which gives Givens the ability to better climb and descend hills.
The team worked together to develop the handlebar, which was 3D printed. Givens was able to train with 3D printed prototypes to give her the feel of what the final design would act like.
Fainstein has also previously worked with Olympic rower Jeff Powell, now the general manager of the Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba.
“For most of the last year and at her Paralympic qualifying races, she has been using models straight from our 3D printer,” says Fainstein, who previously modified a wheelchair for use in wheelchair basketball while a Machine Shop student at RRC in the late 1970s. “The one on Chantal’s new bike in Rio is full carbon fiber layered over a core from that same printer.”
Givens has had a successful career. She is a three-time Canadian Paratriathlon champion and has come in fourth place at the World Championships on two separate occasions. Last year, she suffered a major shoulder injury, almost dashing her 2016 Paralympic hopes. Givens placed 8th overall at the 2016 Paralympic Games. Grace Norman (USA) came in first, with Great Britain’s Lauren Steadman and Gwladys Lemoussu of France coming in second and third respectively.