B.C honours paralympians on 2010 games anniversary

VANCOUVER – Imagine training for years for a single event – a defining moment that could put you in the history books as one of the world’s best. One year ago today, 22 British Columbian athletes woke up knowing that special moment had arrived.

Over the next 10 days, they would be put to the ultimate test – the culmination of intense training, discipline, sacrifice, pain and passion. Supporters were nothing short of wowed by their performance. Of Canada’s 19 medals in the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, 14 went to British Columbians.

Touted as the best ever, the 2010 Paralympics were part of a magical time in British Columbia that helped unite, inspire and capture the imagination of millions of people around the globe.

B.C.’s Paralympians were honoured today at Jack Poole Plaza, where the cauldron flame was lit in celebration of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development, Mary McNeil, Minister of Citizens’ Services, and Canadian Paralympic Committee past president Carla Qualtrough spoke to athletes and the public.

The athletes included Para-Alpine Skiers Lauren Woolstencroft, Karolina Wisniewska, Josh Dueck and Lindsay Debou (guide of Viviane Forest), and Wheelchair Curlers Darryl Neighbour, Sonja Gaudet, Jim Armstrong and Ina Forrest. Several MLAs attended the event, featuring a Wheelchair Curling demonstration.

QUOTES:

Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development –

“In 2010, B.C.’s Paralympians captivated us with their athleticism, strength of spirit and determination as they gave their all to win 14 of Canada’s 19 medals. Today, on the one-year anniversary of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, we want to honour these athletes for giving us so much to be proud of as a province and for creating a legacy that continues to strengthen our communities and inspire British Columbians.”

Mary McNeil, Minister of Citizens’ Services –

“As the former Minister of State for the Olympics and Paralympics, it gives me great pleasure to be here today to experience once again the incredible spirit of 2010. B.C.’s Paralympic athletes dominated the podium, helping to set a new gold medal record for Canada at a Paralympic Winter Games. Their incredible achievements will be remembered for generations as a source of pride for British Columbians and Canadians.”

Carla Qualtrough, past president, Canadian Paralympic Committee –

“As a result of the incredible success achieved by our 2010 medallists, more Canadians with a disability than ever before are aware of the opportunity to play sports. This legacy of greater awareness will lead to increased participation and inclusion in local, provincial and national sport programs. This is critical if Canada is to continue to create Paralympic champions. I am proud to be standing beside such great athletes who have shown the rest of the world that Canada is the world’s Paralympic leading nation.”