Posted by: ownthepodium | March 12, 2010

OUR PARALYMPIANS

What a welcome I expect for our Paralympic athletes in Vancouver and Whistler, and at the Opening Ceremonies today.

The Canadian public will embrace them with the same pride and support as for our Olympians.

And they should. These Paralympians have received the same level of support and services as did the Olympians. And they will perform equally as well.

The goal for the team is to try to finish in the top three nations (of approximately 40 nations competing) in the gold medal count. Last year, at world championships, Canadian athletes (12 gold medals) finished second to Russia (14 gold medals)

We are talking far fewer athletes involved in the Paralympics though. That is because for the Olympic Winter Games, there are 16 sport disciplines, and for the Paralympic Games, four – wheelchair curling, sledge hockey, alpine skiing and Nordic skiing (Cross Country and Biathlon).

Own The Podium supported 350 athletes preparing for the Olympic Games, and 200 competed in the Games. For the Paralympians, OTP supported about 60 athletes.

A major weakness in Paralympic sport in this country is that so few who could participate, do. We need to do much more, and the recent budget announcement of the federal government indicated that they will provide $5 million this year, and hopefully in the years to come, to assist the Canadian Paralympic Committee to develop Paralympic sport in Canada. Indeed, where it needs to start is in the communities, provinces and territories where access to facilities and programs need to be actively developed.

The Own the Podium team is so proud of the development and accomplishments of the Paralympic coaches and athletes over the past few years. We wish you every success for your competitions. Have fun. You deserve that.

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Responses

  1. Thank you for this perspective Roger – and congratulations! Enjoy the Opening Ceremonies and wishing our Paralympian athletes great success!

    I am very pleased that OTP has received such positive press. Bravo!

  2. Hopefully this Paralympics does for Canadians with challenges what the regular Olympics has done for my kids. Create an unsurpassed inspiration to compete. The Olympic spirit as you say is meant to inspire and the Paralympics can easily be argued to capture the Olympic spirit by pushing higher harder faster and to over come adversity while doing so. I have no doubt that this will inspire those Canadians facing challenges to drive themselves and will certainly result in a stronger Canadian Paralympic presence for years to come. For those who can’t make it to Whistler here is a blog in which you can come to Whistler virtually. (http://blog.virtualwhistler.com/)


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