BEIJING, Sept. 4 /CNW Telbec/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
today announced that Paralympic swimmer Donovan Tildesley has been named
Canada's flag bearer for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. The announcement
was made at a Team Canada pep really in the Paralympic Village just prior to
the start of the XIII Paralympic Games, running from September 6-17, 2008.
Tildesley will lead the Canadian Paralympic team of 143 athletes into the
Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird's Nest, for the 2008 Paralympic
Games Opening Ceremony on September 6.
"I had no idea this was coming. When my name was announced it was like an
electric shock shooting through my body, I could hardly believe that I - this
kid with a visual impairment from Vancouver - would be given such an honour,"
said multiple-Paralympic medallist Tildesley. "I'm touched that my team
decided to nominate me for this position."
One of Canada's best Paralympic long-distance swimmers, Tildesley holds
the world record in the men's 800m and 1500m freestyle in the S11 category.
The 24-year-old athlete from Vancouver, BC is visually impaired and races
in the S11 category for totally blind swimmers.
At the Athens 2004 Paralympic Games, he earned a silver medal in both the
400m freestyle and 200m individual medley, and a bronze medal in the 100m
freestyle. At the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, he won the bronze in the 200m
Tildesley said he wants to have the "most fun of all" in Beijing as he
plans to retire after these Paralympic Games - which makes it even more
special to have been named flagbearer.
Tildesley competes in his first race on day three of the Games in the
He swims with the UBC Dolphins under coach Derrick Schoof. He started
racing in 1993 and was coached by his father, Hugh Tildesley, a former
competitive swimmer, and his uncle Murray Tildesley, a former national record
holder. Hugh is with the Canadian Paralympic team in Beijing as his son's
tapper. A tapper lets swimmers with a visual impairment know when they are
about to reach the wall of the pool.
He has been in the water since he was six months old, and his earliest
sporting memory is of racing his father in the pool at age eight.
"With just two days to go before the Opening Ceremony of the 2008
Paralympic Games, excitement is building," said Chef de Mission for the
Canadian team Debbie Low. "All of the athletes here have earned the right to
represent Canada. These Games will be an important part of Paralympic Games
history, with many firsts and many triumphs to be had. The combination of our
athletes and our mission staff along with the support of our friends and
family, both at home and on-site, will make these Games memorable for all."
Previous recent flag bearers for the Opening Ceremonies of the Paralympic
Games include Chantal Benoit (2004, wheelchair basketball), Gary Longhi (2000,
cycling) and Jeff Christy (1996, goalball) along with Marni Abbott-Peter
(1996, wheelchair basketball).
About the 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: Erin Sulpher, Beijing 2008 Media Attache,
Mobile: (011) 86 13521034322, email@example.com; Norma Reveler, Press
Chief, Beijing 2008 Canadian Paralympic Team, Mobile: (011) 86 13439622163,
Press Office: (011) 86 01066617438, firstname.lastname@example.org