9:18 a.m. US/ 2:18 p.m. UK
What sports do you play? Mostly like, every sport. I play eight sports: football (soccer), tennis, basketball, wheelchair basketball, table tennis. Let’s see…Swim. Run. That’s seven. Football…Yeah, I play eight sports and I do all of them about 8 to 9 times week.
What are your favorite foods? Chocolate. I love fruits and vegetables. I eat tons of them. I eat up all the mango (Juliette explains that Rio is on a health kick).
Do you have any pets? In about 1 hour and 35 minutes, we will have a dog. (Juliette explains that they will be taking care of Rio’s grandparents’ dog for the night. The puppy makes a brief appearance later in the interview. It’s a cute little poodle. Caitlin tries to talk to it via FaceTime using her superpowers. See below.)
What books do you like to read? I’ve got tons of books. I like Gruffalo (Rio proceeds to show us at least five titles in the Gruffalo series), Curious George (Caitlin is thrilled with this selection) and Horrid Henry. (Caitlin shares one of her favorite books, Emmanuel’s Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson. It is the true story of how a boy born with a limb difference changes the world.)
What movies do you like to watch? Well, I was about 5 minutes into the Cars 2 movie before you called. I like the Rio movies. I like all the Cars movies, Monsters Inc., Monster University and Big Hero 6. (“Oh, I love Big Hero 6!” exclaim Nolan and Caitlin simultaneously.) Then, Rio parades all of the Monster University characters from his bed past the screen. Nolan and Caitlin try to remember some of the characters’ names. This leads to Caitlin running to her room and returning with a bag of TY Beanie Boos to share. When both parades are over Nolan announces that it is time for the next question, and they get back to the interview.)
9:50 a.m. US/ 2:50 p.m. UK
What are your superpowers? I don’t really know what to say for that question. What are yours? (Caitlin responds, “Oh, I can talk to animals. And I’m good in the ocean. I have nature superpowers.” Nolan and Rio say they need to think about it more. Juliette says she thinks Rio’s superpower is that he always gets up and keeps going. Rio agrees and shows us a recent injury on his finger to prove her point. Nolan says he has the same superpower and shows off his cut and bruised knee from a recent fall on his bike. Once all injuries have been shared, we get back to the interview.)
What accomplishments in sports are you most proud of? I’m not sure. (Rio is being modest. He shows us lots of medals that he has earned and a recent certificate from an adaptive sports camp program. Juliette helps out with the question and talks about how since 2013 Rio proudly participates in an annual run around London’s Olympic stadium. Conversation about this event leads Rio to move towards the cabinet above his bed. There he shows us the pictures displayed. They include him standing with his Paralympic heroes like Jonnie Peacock, Alan Fonteles and Richard Whitehead, except one where he is with Prince Harry. Yes, THE Prince Harry. Rio has many accomplishments to be proud of and he is only 7 years old.)
Back to Caitlin…
What makes a good teammate? Someone who tries hard. I’m very fit. (Rio is known for his hard work and shows us his muscles to prove it.)
What makes a good coach? Someone who makes it fun. (Here’s some video of his coach, Hayley, making it fun Track & Samba.)
10:12 a.m. US/ 3:12 p.m. UK
Puppy Showing & Impromptu Snack Break
Nolan’s turn again…
How would you define ability? You can do anything. You are still the same. You can play sports. Just if you have a straight leg on, you can’t bend it. (Juliette adds challenged athletes will get to the same place they may just take a more scenic route by doing it differently.)
What is your ultimate sports goal? I want to be in the Paralympics or a footballer (a professional soccer player).
10:24 a.m. US/ 3:24 p.m. UK
Quick Virtual Tour of Houses & Back Yard or Garden
10:38 a.m. US/ 3:38 p.m. UK
Interview resumes with Nolan asking final question.
What advice do you have for other young athletes? To keep trying.
10:50 a.m. US/ 3:50 p.m. UK
“Goodbye” everyone shouts at the screen and waves to each other.
What’s Next for These Super Kids?
Our one hour interview lasted nearly two hours and was filled with stories, laughs and surprises. As life sometimes creates unexpected opportunities, Rio, Nolan and Caitlin will have a chance to play together this summer in Maine when he comes to the US to attend Camp No Limits. They can’t wait to explore the rocky coast and see Rio try out his new water leg. Although Rio is on a health kick, eating some ice cream and trying a famous Maine Wicked Whoopie Pies are part of the plans. Eating lobster will not be a part of the menu. Despite encouragement from Nolan and Caitlin, Rio remains a bit reluctant to eat lobster because as he states “it could pinch me in my stomach.”
Thank you Rio & Juliette for your time. We can’t wait to see you in July. Until then, keep believing in the possible!
Nolan, Caitlin & Jen
P.S. Rio nominates track and field stars, Jonnie Peacock, Alan Fonteles, and Richard Whitehead to join Team Possible.
If you want to learn more about Rio Woolf you can visit his FaceBook page, Twitter or website Run Rio Run.