Canada closes out 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games ranked seventh in nation standings



    BEIJING, China, Sept. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - 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 www.paralympic.ca.




For further information:

For further information: Mary Beth Walker or Rachal Fleury, CPC Media
Relations At-home Media Team, (613) 569-4333 ext. 227, Mobile: (613) 795-5169,
marybeth@paralympic.ca; Norma Reveler, Press Chief, Beijing 2008 Canadian
Paralympic Team, Mobile: (011) 86 13439622163, Press Office: (011) 86
1066617438, norma@paralympic.ca


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