Thursday, January 24, 2002
Paralympic athletes ready to triumph at Salt Lake City
Goal: Beat the 20-medal record
OTTAWA -- The Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today the Canadian team for the Winter Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City. The Canadian delegation is comprised of 27 athletes ^ four women and 23 men- two skiing guides and 27 mission staff. The goal is to win 20 medals which is five more than the total accumulated at the Nagano Games in 1998. "From one ocean to another, Canadians will share the Paralympic team's triumphs and will discover that Paralympic athletes are extraordinary high calibre athletes," said Henry Wohler, the Chef de Mission. These VIIIth Games are scheduled for March 7-16 and feature more than a 100 medal events in three sports: alpine skiing, Nordic ski (cross country skiing and biathlon) and sledge hockey.
The alpine ski team, currently ranked third in the world, is represented by nine skiers and a guide, aged between 22 and 41. Six of the nine skiers were at the Nagano Games and appear in excellent position to win many Canadian medals. Ian Balfour, Stacy Kohut, Karolina Wisniewska, Lauren Woolstencroft of Alberta, Daniel Wesley of British Columbia and Chris Williamson of Ontario are among the big names on this team.
The Nordic ski team, represented by three skiers and a guide, compete in cross country skiing and biathlon. Shauna Maria Whyte and Brian McKeever of Alberta and Colette Bourgonje of Saskatchewan have already earned victories this season in their respective categories and should step on the podium in Salt Lake City. Olympian Robin McKeever of Alberta provides a big boost to his brother Brian as his guide.
The world champion sledge hockey team combines speed and experience. Bronze medallists at Lillehammer in 1994 and silver medallists in Nagano, the team looks to complete its medal collection with a gold. Team captain Todd Nicholson, rookie Billy Bridges, goaltender Pierre Pichette and forward Herve Lord are the stars on the team. The 15-member squad's ages range from 17-47. Norway and Sweden are Canada's top opponents.
The CPC Director General is confident that Canada is sending its best possible team to the Games. "I am confident that Canada is sending its best athletes to the 2002 Paralympic Games. Athletes who will not only win medals, but who will also showcase the very best in Ability, Excellence and Inspiration, making all Canadians proud in the process. For the first time in Canadian history, Canadians will have the opportunity to experience our athletes' performances and stories first hand through an unprecedented level of television coverage provided by CBC."
Canadian team for the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games
Ian Balfour, Pincher Creek, Alta.; William Harriott, Calgary (guide); Stacy Kohut, Canmore, Alta.; Mark Ludbrook, Whistler, B.C.; Scott Patterson, Vancouver; Gord Tuck, Lake Cowichan, B.C.; Daniel Wesley, New Westminster, B.C.; Chris Williamson, Scarborough, Ont.
Karolina Wisniewska, Calgary; Lauren Woolstencroft, Victoria.
Brian McKeever, Canmore; Robin McKeever, Calgary (guide).
Colette Bourgonje, Saskatoon; Shauna Maria Whyte, Hinton, Alta.
Bradley Bowden, Orton, Ont.; Billy Bridges, Guelph, Ont.; Erik Desjardins, Laval, Que.; Jean Labonte, Aylmer, Que.; Robert Lagace, Aurora, Ont.; Serge Lamoureu, xGreenfield Park, Que.; Herve Lord, Ottawa; Warren Martin, Edmonton; Shawn Matheson, Clarence Creek, Ont.; Lou Mulvihill, Nepean, Ont.; Graeme Murray, Gravenhurst, Ont.; Todd Nicholson, Ottawa; Pierre Pichette, Longueuil, Que.; Paul Rosen, Thornhill, Ont.; Danyh Verner, Bois-des-Filliions, Que.
2002 Games Paralympics Coverage