Canada concludes most successful Paralympic Winter Games

Goal of Top 3 in gold medal count reached, record 19 medals total

WHISTLER, BC, March 22 /CNW Telbec/ - On home soil, Canada enjoyed its most successful Paralympic Winter Games in history. With competition finished on Sunday, the Canadian Paralympic Committee applauds its athletes, coaches and staff for achieving its goal of being ranked among the Top 3 nations in the world in terms of number of gold medals. Canada earned 10 gold medals, ranking third, and finished with 19 medals overall.

"Our athletes trained hard, were given unprecedented support, gave extraordinary performances and captured the hearts of Canadians," said Blair McIntosh, chef de mission, Team Canada. "Congratulations to our entire team for reaching our aggressive goal. This has been a Games to remember. Canada has cemented itself as a leading Paralympic sport nation."

Competition ended for Canada on Sunday with para-nordic star Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alberta) and guide/brother, Robin, winning their third gold medal of the Games in the 1 km classic sprint, visually impaired. The tandem claimed the first winter gold medal for Canada on March 15 in the 20km freestyle, visually Impaired. McKeever was the first person in the world to qualify for both the winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the same year. The three gold in Whistler give McKeever 10 medals in his illustrious career.

"The Paralympic Movement is stronger today than ever before thanks to the success of our incredible athletes and the amazing stories told over the past few weeks from Vancouver and Whistler," said Carla Qualtrough, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee. "The impact of these Games will be felt across the country in terms of improved Paralympic participation, recruitment, additional programming and grassroots initiatives. The legacy from Vancouver 2010 and Canada's team is profound."

Lauren Woolstencroft (North Vancouver) became the first Paralympic winter athlete to win five gold medals in the same Games. She joined Stephanie Dixon and Chantal Petitclerc as the only three women to ever have claimed five gold in any Games, summer or winter.

Vivian Forest (Edmonton) and guide Lindsay Debour also earned five medals in Whistler. They won gold in downhill, silvers in super-G, super combined and slalom, and a bronze in giant slalom.

The support from fans that filled the venues, volunteers who donned their blue uniforms with pride, along with government and corporate supporters were instrumental in Canada's success.

"With unparalleled support from our federal government and corporate partners, athletes were provided with the support needed to excel at these Games," expressed Henry Storgaard, chief executive officer, Canadian Paralympic Committee. "We share these medals with them and thank them for continuing to support the CPC and its athletes as we move past these historic Games onto London and Sochi."

HISTORICAL MEDAL COUNT FOR CANADA AT THE PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES
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    Year      Rank        Gold        Silver      Bronze      Total
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    1976      9 (9)          2             0           2          4
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    1980      8 (7)          2             3           1          6
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    1984     10 (7)          2             8           4         14
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    1988      8 (8)          5             3           5         13
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    1992      9 (9)          2             4           6         12
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    1994     14 (12)         1             2           5          8
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    1998     15 (9)          1             9           5         15
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    2002      6 (7)          6             4           5         15
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    2006      6 (6)          5             3           5         13
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    2010      3 (4)         10             5           4         19
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About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, private organisation with 43 member sports organisations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The CPC is responsible for creating an optimal high-performance environment for the Canadian Paralympic athletes to win at Paralympic and ParaPanAmerican Games. By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a physical disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organisations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

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For further information: Michael Cvitkovic, ABC, Press Chief, Canadian Paralympic Committee, mcvitkovic@tenniscanada.com, Phone: (604) 388-8420; Anna Parisi, Chief of Communications, Canadian Paralympic Committee, aparisi@paralympic.ca, (604) 828-2875; Marie-Hélène Cayer, Media Relations (French Media), Canadian Paralympic Committee, mcayer@paralympic.ca, (778) 834-0337