Man In Motion to carry Olympic Torch in Richmond

RICHMOND, BC, Jan. 27 /CNW/ - Man In Motion Rick Hansen has been named as the community torchbearer when the Olympic Torch Relay completes its Richmond leg on Tuesday, February 9, 2010.

"Rick is both an international hero and a tireless community volunteer," said Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie. "We're proud to have him represent Richmond by carrying the torch and lighting the cauldron during our community celebration. It will not only celebrate the imminent opening of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it will be a fitting tribute to the 25th anniversary of Rick's incredible Man In Motion World Tour."

The Olympic Torch Relay will arrive in Richmond in the late afternoon on February 9. It will travel throughout the community before arriving at Minoru Park for the community celebration and cauldron lighting. The 2010 Olympic Torch Relay is presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government of Canada.

"I am humbled and honoured to have been invited to carry the Olympic Torch in my hometown of Richmond, B.C.," said Rick Hansen. "It brings me great pride to not only join our community in this once-in-a-lifetime celebration, but to also participate as a Canadian in the historic journey of the Olympic flame."

At the age of 15, Rick Hansen sustained a spinal cord injury (SCI) in a car crash and was paralyzed from the waist down. Determined to pursue his passion for sports he went on to win 19 international wheelchair marathons, including six medals as a Paralympian.

Inspired by the dream of a world accessible and inclusive for all, and a passion to make a difference in the lives of others, Rick set out on a journey - his legendary Man In Motion World Tour on March 21, 1985. Rick wheeled more than 40,000-kilometres through 34 countries, raising $26 million for SCI research and quality of life programs. More importantly was the collective shift in consciousness in the belief of the potential of people with disabilities when barriers are removed.

March 21, 2010 - the same day as the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Paralympic Games - will mark the 25th anniversary of the day Rick embarked on his Man In Motion World Tour, and today, his journey continues. As President and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, he has helped generate $200 million for SCI research and quality of life programs. His efforts have continued to improve the prognosis for newly injured individuals and have increased support and care for those living with SCI providing opportunities for them to live to their full potential.

Rick has received many honours for his work, the latest being named as one of the volunteer honorary co-Mayors of the 2010 Olympic Village in Vancouver. Rick and his family reside in Richmond.

The final stage of the torch's journey through Richmond brings it into Minoru Park, in the midst of a two-hour Torch Relay Community Celebration from 7 to 9 p.m. The show includes live entertainment and ceremonies on the Main Stage, interactive displays and roving entertainers with fireworks at 9 p.m. Gates (at Minoru Park) open at 5 p.m.

About Richmond

The City of Richmond built the Richmond Olympic Oval, the premier venue of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games and home to 12 days of long track speed skating competition. As an official 2010 Venue City, Richmond has also created the O Zone, the largest official celebration site for the 2010 Games at nearly 60 acres, located in the heart of Richmond along the Canada Line. For more information visit www.richmondozone.ca.

About Rick Hansen Foundation

The Rick Hansen Foundation, a registered charitable organization, provides the leadership to create more accessible and inclusive communities for people with a spinal cord injury, and supports the search for a cure. The Foundation achieves its goals by connecting the people and resources that make innovation possible. Visit www.rickhansen.com.

About VANOC

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

SOURCE City of Richmond

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: Ted Townsend, City of Richmond, Tel: (604) 276-4399, Cell: (604) 516-9585, Email: ttownsend@richmond.ca; Erin McMillan, Rick Hansen Foundation, Phone: (778) 296-1520, Cell: (778) 229-7532, Email: emcmillan@rickhansen.com

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