Torch Bearers Named for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics

VANCOUVER, B.C., (March 3, 2010) – The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is proud to announce the 25 torch bearers it has selected to take part in the Paralympic Torch Relay for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. These individuals have been selected for their outstanding contribution to the Paralympic Movement.  The relay will raise awareness for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, which will be held from March 12 – 21, 2010 in Vancouver and Whistler.

At the Paralympic Torch Relay Lighting Ceremony today on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Paralympian Arnold Boldt became the first torch bearer of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay. A true representative of the Paralympic spirit, Boldt competed at the first Paralympic Games hosted in Canada, the 1976 Torontolympiad, where he surprised the world with a 1.86m high-jump and 2.96m long-jump, on one leg, winning gold medals for both events.  In 1981, he surpassed his own records with a high-jump of 2.04m and long-jump of 3.01m.  Boldt has continued to be a role model and inspiration for Paralympians throughout Canada and is most deserving of the honor of lighting the first torch.

Five-time Paralympian, Chantal Petitclerc will carry the torch in Vancouver. Debuting on the international stage at the 1992 Summer Paralympic Games in
Barcelona, Chantal has earned a total of 21 Paralympic medals over her career, including 14 gold. She earned these gold medals in the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1500m races at the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games and repeated the feat 4 years later in Beijing. The Athens 2004 Olympic Games also hosted a 800m wheelchair race, where Petitclerc won another gold, making her the only Canadian to have won medals in Olympic, Paralympic, and Commonwealth Games.

“The torch bearers chosen by the Canadian Paralympic Committee represent the coaches, volunteers, athletes, and administrators that are the heart and soul of the Paralympic tradition in Canada,” said Carla Qualtrough, President of the CPC. “They will proudly share the Paralympic Spirit with Canadians across the country as they start the celebrations for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. As they do we hope they will inspire Canadians to keep the flags flying and show their support for Canada’s Paralympic athletes as they prepare to make the country proud by going for gold on home soil.”  

The torch bearers who will represent the CPC and the locations where they will run are: 

QUEBEC CITY—MARCH 4th

Denis Laflamme is the Manager, governmental affaires and health policies for Pfizer Canada. Pfizer Canada has been involved with the excitement of Paralympic sport for more than a decade.  They believe Canada’s Paralympic athletes have much to teach us about living a healthy, inspired life and most of all, about the power of believing in yourself. This March, they are proud to see Canada’s Paralympic athletes have the chance to shine right here at home and are encouraging Canadians to join with them to show their support and appreciation.

TORONTO—MARCH 5th

Johannah Jackson is the daughter of Dr. Robert Jackson, one of the founding fathers of the Canadian Paralympic Movement. Dr. Jackson, who worked for the Canadian Olympic Team, witnessed the Tokyo 1964 Paralympic Games. He then spearheaded the creation of the Canadian Wheelchair Sport Association in 1967, and a year later helped send the Canadian Paralympic Team to the Tel Aviv 1968 Paralympic Games. Dr. Jackson went on to organize Canada’s first Paralympic Games, the 1976 Olympiad for the Physically Disabled (also referred to as the Torontolympiad).

Johannah inherited Paralympic values from her father, as demonstrated in her own story. One year after suffering a stroke in 2009, Johannah is back working as a personal trainer and teaching a variety of fitness classes.

VICTORIA—MARCH 6th

Janet Dunn has been committed to the Paralympic movement for over 25 years, volunteering and working with athletes, both in coaching and rehabilitation. Specifically, she has been involved with swimmers with a disability and currently serves as the National Junior and Development Coach for the Swimming Canada (Natation Canada) Para-swimming Program.

SQUAMISH—MARCH 7th

Blair McIntosh is the Canadian Paralympic Committee 2010 Chef de Mission for Team Canada and Team Ontario.  Blair has served the sporting community through his roles as Games Consultant or Mission Staff for over 40 major multi-sport games.  He has been integral in promoting sport throughout Ontario and Canada, and currently sits on the National Board for the Special Olympics Canada Games Committee and Canada Games Council Sport Committee.

WHISTLER—MARCH 8th

Ken Melamed is the Mayor of Whistler. He has been instrumental in transforming Whistler into one of the most accessible and inclusive communities in the world, as well as supporting the development of sport programs for persons with a disability. As a result, many of Canada’s 2010 Paralympic hopefuls now live and train in Whistler, and the community annually welcomes hundreds of persons with a disability who come to Whistler on vacation specifically for the opportunities it provides to learn and enjoy sport.

Jason Dunkerly is a three-time Paralympic runner with a visual impairment. He holds two silver and two bronze medals from the Sydney 200, Athens 2004, and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. He also holds two gold medals from the 2007 Rio Parapan American Games. Jason competes in the T11 1500m race with his long-time guide runner Greg Dailey.

VANCOUVER, HILLCREST, RILEY PARK COMMUNITY CENTRE—MARCH 10th

Jane Blaine has worked professionally in blind sports for over 20 years. She is currently the Executive Director for BC Blind Sports and Recreation Association and also the Executive Director/CEO for Canadian Blind Sports.  Jane has been a volunteer in the disability sports community for over 30 years.

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA STUDENT UNION BUILDING—MARCH 11th

George Hungerford is an Olympic rower. He won gold in rowing with Roger Jackson at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, and later that year the pair were honored as the winners of the Lou Marsh trophy, awarded annually to Canada’s top athlete. Hungerford is the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s (CPC) representative on the 2010 Games Operating Trust, a not-for-profit established to provide funds to contribute to the maintenance and operating expenses of three legacy facilities developed for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games: the Richmond Oval (Richmond, BC), the Whistler Olympic Park, and the Whistler Sliding Centre (Resort Municipality of Whistler, BC).

VANCOUVER, DOWNTOWN—March 11th and 12th

Bianca Solterbeck is a journalist with ShawTV who travels around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia with her cameraman Scott to interview celebrities, athletes, and ordinary folks with extraordinary stories.

Athena Cooper is the Web Administrator and Designer at 2010 Legacies Now and has been in this role for nearly 3 years.  2010 Legacies Now is an organisation that focuses on creating social legacies up to and beyond the 2010 Winter Games.  She also volunteers her time running a popular website on the animation industry. 

Terrie Moore is Co-chair of the CPC Classification Task Force, Executive Director of SportAbility BC, and has been involved in sport in BC, nationally,
and internationally for over 20 years.

Aiden McKee first experienced Paralympic sport on a trip to the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. His enthusiasm for what he saw impressed Paralympic veterans, including author Jeff Theissen, who invited McKee to contribute to his book With Glowing Hearts. At age 13, McKee has become an avid fan and ambassador for Paralympic sport.

Eron Main has been a catalyst in the international growth of wheelchair rugby and currently serves as the Secretary General of the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation and is on the Board of the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association. Eron has also been responsible for introducing the sport of wheelchair rugby to China, Brazil, India, and many other countries.

Tracey Keith is the wife of Steven Keith, Director, Olympic Activation at Suncor Energy. As the proud owner of the Petro-Canada brand, Suncor is a strong
supporter of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. It is committed to ensuring that Canadian Paralympic athletes get to share the moment with their families, through the Canadian Athlete Family Program, which funds two family members per athlete to come to the Games.

Walter Wu, who is partially blind, has been one of Canada’s most successful international swimmers, earning five gold medals at the 1996 Games in Atlanta, two more gold in a five-medal intake in Sydney in 2000, and numerous world record performances. Walter was recently inducted into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame.

Michelle Stilwell is a wheelchair racer who won gold in the 100m and 200m at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, and holds the world record in both distances. Michelle also won gold at the 2000 Sydney Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball.  

Senator Joyce Fairbairn started her political career as a Legislative Assistant to Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in 1970. In 1984, she was appointed to the Senate and has since served on a number of committees including the Special Senate Committee on Youth; and the Senate Standing Committees on Transportation and Communications.  In 1993, Senator Fairbairn was appointed to the Privy Council.

From 1999 to 2003 Senator Fairbairn served as Chair for the “Friends of the Paralympics,” a group she founded to raise money for the Canadian Paralympic Committee and in 2003 she became Chair of the Canadian Paralympic Foundation.

Ozzie Sawicki is the founder and president of Pozitive Results Sport Strategies Inc., an international sport/recreation consulting company born out of Ozzie’s long time involvement in the sport of alpine skiing. Ozzie has competed in both mainstream alpine skiing, as well as competitive skiing for athletes with a disability. Ozzie acted as Head Coach and Program Director for the Canadian Disabled Alpine Ski Team from 2000 to 2004. Since the fall of 2009, he has been the Head Coach of the Canadian Para-Athletics (Track & Field) Program with Athletics Canada. Ozzie sits on Boards for the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Coaches of Canada, the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation, and Coach Alberta.

Lauren Barwick is a Para-Equestrian who earned great results at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, as well as gold and silver medal performances at the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing. Along with her horse Maile, Barwick has risen to be one of Canada’s most celebrated athletes, and her success has helped to propel the sport of Para-Dressage into the spotlight.

Sonia Gaudet is on the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic wheelchair curling team and is the only returning member of the Canadian team that struck gold in Torino, Italy when wheelchair curling made its debut at the 2006 Paralympic Games.  Since Torino, she has continued in her winning ways by taking home a gold medal from the 2009 World Championships. She is an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, and VANOC, where she uses the power of sport and her experience of overcoming challenges to motivate and inspire people of all ages.

Cindy Crapper achieved international success as a track & field thrower, earning many awards, setting national records, and winning the 1984 Canadian Olympic Trials. She has coached, mentored and developed strength and condition programs for provincial and national team members including athletes with disabilities.

In her current role as Vancouver Park Board Access Services Recreation Coordinator, Cindy collaborates with the community to make recreation accessible, inclusive, and affordable. She is a member of the International Day for People with Disabilities Celebration, BC Sport Group, BCRPA, City of Vancouver’s Sport Strategy, Active Communities Initiatives, CAAWS; Women in Leadership and a member of the British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association.

Josh Vander Vies is a Canadian boccia player who competed in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games and holds silver and bronze medals from the Americas Cup.  Through his work with the Government of BC and the BC Personal Supports Network, Josh helps people with disabilities obtain the assistive technology they need to enter the workforce. In 2006, Josh was elected to the International Boccia Committee as Athlete Representative by the boccia players of the world.

Josh also acts as Athlete Council Representation on the Canadian Paralympic Committee Board of Directors.

Elisabeth Walker-Young is a four-time Paralympian, earning three gold, one silver, and two bronze medals in a career that spanned the Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, and Athens 2004 Paralympic Games. Elisabeth is a member of the Athlete and Coach Selection Committee for Para-swimming Swimming Canada. 

She is currently serving as the Classification Specialist for VANOC for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Reproduced from http://www.tsn.ca/olympics/story/?id=312286