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MONTREAL, Sept. 8, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee is pleased to announce that five--time Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc (Montreal, Que.) has been named Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, marking exactly two years to go until competition begins in Rio.
Petitclerc competed at five Paralympic Games in wheelchair racing (Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing), winning 21 medals, including 14 gold. After retiring from competition, she worked as a coach and mentor to the UK Athletics team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. An accomplished, bilingual public speaker, Petitclerc recently completed an appointment as Team Canada's Chef de Mission for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
"I am so proud to be leading Team Canada and to be giving back to the Paralympic movement, which has given me so much," said Petitclerc. "I hope my insights as a former athlete will help the current generation of athletes achieve their performance goals. I'm feeling well-prepared and inspired for this next, large step in my career, not only with my expertise as a former athlete, but also with experience as a coach in London and a Chef de Mission in Glasgow."
The Chef de Mission is the official spokesperson for the Canadian Paralympic Team. She is a mentor, a leader and an inspiration to the athletes. It is a volunteer role that demands a significant time commitment and dedication, as part of the core leadership team supporting the Paralympic Team.
Petitclerc's focus will be on pre-Games preparation and on building and leading a support team that will ensure an optimal environment of success for the athletes. The Chef de Mission will also promote Canada's athletes and raise awareness of Paralympic sport and the Canadian Paralympic Team.
"Chantal's nomination as Chef de mission is fabulous news for all sports fans in Canada," said Gaétan Tardif, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. "Not only is she an accomplished leader, her amazing Paralympic record will also inspire all Canadian athletes and coaches to top performances in their quest for gold in Rio."
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games run September 7 to 18, 2016 and will feature approximately 4,350 athletes from more than 160 countries. Team Canada expects to send a team of approximately 170 to 200 athletes. Qualification is ongoing and will be finalized in summer 2016.
Chantal's longtime coach and Head Coach of Athletics Canada, Peter Eriksson, spoke with pride at the announcement of Petitclerc's appointment this morning at Montreal's Complexe Sportif Claude-Robillard.
"I am extremely happy for Chantal, this is a great appointment by the Canadian Paralympic Committee," said Eriksson. "Not only is Chantal an accomplished Paralympic athlete, she is one of the best athletes in Canadian history. She did such a great job as Chef de Mission for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and I know she will pull from all of her experiences to lead the Canadian Team to success through the 2016 Games."
Originally from Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, Quebec, Petitclerc lost the use of her legs in an accident at age 13. Her high school physical education teacher convinced her to take up swimming in order to build up her strength and stamina. Four years later, Petitclerc discovered wheelchair racing, paving the way for a long and successful career.
Her numerous awards include Chevalier de l'Ordre du Quebec, Companion of the Order of Canada, and the Lou Marsh trophy as Canadian athlete of the year.
About the Canadian Paralympic Committee
The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca
Image with caption: "The Canadian Paralympic Committee is pleased to announce that five--time Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc (Montreal, Que.) has been named Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, marking exactly two years to go until competition begins in Rio. (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140908_C2724_PHOTO_EN_5398.jpg
SOURCE: Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
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