B.C. celebrates Paralympians as London Games close

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VICTORIA – The government is celebrating today’s Paralympic silver medal for Canada in wheelchair rugby and congratulating all British Columbia athletes as the London 2012 Games come to an end, announced Bill Bennett, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development.

The men’s wheelchair rugby team closed out the Games with its silver after falling 66-51 to Australia in the final. The U.S. claimed the bronze medal, defeating Japan 53-43. Five athletes on the Canadian wheelchair rugby team are from B.C.

Of Canada’s 31 medals, athletes who are from B.C. or train here won eight, including two gold, five silver, and one bronze. Two athletes, Michelle Stilwell and Brianna Nelson, were double medallists. In total, B.C. athletes earned 26 per cent of Canada’s medal haul.

“This has been an exceptional day for B.C. athletes, ” noted Bill Bennett, BC’s Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development. “To close out the Games with a medal finishes the Paralympics on a high note. On behalf of all British Columbians, I want to congratulate Canada’s wheelchair rugby team and all of B.C.’s Paralympic athletes for their tremendous achievements.”

B.C. sent 42 athletes to the Paralympic Games. Of those, 38 were born and raised here while the other four train here.  B.C. also sent a total of 25 coaches, officials, technical staff, medical and support team members to the London Games.  Twenty-six per cent of Team Canada’s Paralympic medals in 2012 were won by B.C.-based athletes. This is similar to the percentage of B.C.-based athletes that made up Team Canada at the London Paralympic Games – 29 per cent.

In comparison to past Games, this is the second-highest medal percentage total for B.C.-based athletes over the past 12 years. At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, B.C.-based athletes garnered 24 per cent of Team Canada’s medal total; 32 per cent at the 2004 Athens Games; and 16 per cent at the 2000 Sydney Games.

“B.C.-based athletes are to be congratulated for bringing home 26 per cent of Team Canada’s medals from the London 2012 Paralympic Games,” commented Wendy Pattenden, CEO, Canadian Sport Centre Pacific. “Performing with courage and determination, B.C.’s Paralympians have inspired youth across our province to believe in their dreams.”

The next Paralympic Summer Games are in Rio de Janeiro from Sept. 7-18, 2016

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