BEIJING – The Canadian Paralympic team finished the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games with a total of 50 medals (19 gold, 10 silver and 21 bronze), placing it seventh in the official medal standings by nation.
There were a record 147 nations participating in the Games, up from 136 in Athens 2004, 122 from Sydney 2000 and 103 in Atlanta 1996.
“We are proud of each and every one of our Canadian Paralympians who have inspired us throughout the last 12 days,” said Chef de Mission Debbie Low. “While our top-five goal is ambitious, we will respond to this challenge and develop plans with our partners to pursue the achievement of this performance goal in London 2012. The field at the Paralympic Games is becoming much deeper and more competitive, which is good for Paralympic sport worldwide.”
Assistant Chef de Mission Gaetan Tardif added, “With enhanced Road to Excellence funding on the horizon, we are looking forward to building on, expanding and providing more support to our pool of podium potential athletes in advance of the London 2012 Paralympic Games.”
In preparation for the conclusion of the Paralympic Games featuring many outstanding Canadian performances, the Canadian team has chosen Halifax’s Paul Tingley as its closing ceremony flag bearer.
Tingley, 38, captured Canada’s first Paralympic gold medal in sailing in the 1-person keelboat on September 13, the last day of sailing competition. He defeated the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games gold medalist Damien Seguin, of France in the tight race.
Beijing is Tingley’s third Paralympic Games. In 2000, he earned a bronze medal as part of Canada’s sonar crew at the Sydney Paralympic Games.
“It’s humbling to have been chosen as closing flag bearer, especially with this team, and all the successes of the athletes and their efforts,” said Tingley. “It’s an unbelievable honour.”
Canadian highlights from the Beijing 2008 Paralympic highlights include:
– Canada got off to a great start on the first day when swimmers Valerie Grand’Maison (Montreal, QC), Kirby Cote (Winnipeg, MB) and Chelsey Gotell (Hamilton, ON) swept the podium in the women’s 100m butterfly in the S13 category. The athletes repeated the podium sweep in the 100m backstroke on September 14, with Gotell finishing first, Grand’Maison second and Cote third.
– Valerie Grand’Maison (Montreal, QC) in her debut Paralympic Games won three gold medals (100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 100m butterfly), two silver medals (50m freestyle and 100m backstroke) and one bronze medal (200m individual medley). She broke a world record in the process.
– Chantal Petitclerc (Montreal, QC) capped off her last Paralympic Games by repeating her Athens feat of capturing five gold medals in five events. She broke world records in two events in the process. She won her fifth gold medal in the 1500m on September 16 on a wet track. Her other golds came in the 800m, 400m, 200m and a dramatic 100m come-from-behind win.
– Despite having a sick horse Maile, Lauren Barwick (Langley, BC) picked up a silver in the individual championship test of equestrian and followed that up with Canada’s first equestrian gold medal in the individual freestyle test.
– Canadian sailor Paul Tingley (Halifax, NS) won Canada’s first Paralympic gold medal in sailing after coming out on top in a tight five-way race in the one-person keelboat. In the two-person keelboat (SKUD 18) event, Stacie Louttit (Victoria, BC) and John McRoberts (Victoria, BC) earned bronze. Two of three Canadian sailing crews reached the podium.
– Wheelchair racer and former wheelchair basketball player Michelle Stilwell (Nanoose Bay, BC) set a new Paralympic record in taking the gold in the women’s 200m final in the T52 category. She also won gold in the 100m with a world record.
– Dean Bergeron (St-Augustin-de-Desmaures, PQ) was also a triple medalist winning gold in both the 100m and 200m and bronze in the 400m.
– The Canadian men’s wheelchair basketball team beat the United States 69-62 in an exciting double overtime game to advance to the gold medal final against Australia. The team took silver.
About Canadian Paralympic Committee
The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable, private organization that is recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC). The CPC delivers programs that strengthen the Paralympic Movement in Canada, including sending Canadian teams to the Paralympic Games. The CPC empowers persons with physical disabilities, through sport, at all levels. For more information, visit http://www.paralympic.ca