Paralympian Stephanie Dixon heads to Brazil with gold medals



    MONTREAL, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Dixon
heads to Brazil this evening with two gold medals in her suitcase to promote
the role sport can play in the lives of people with a physical disability.
    Dixon, a 23-year-old student at the University of Victoria, won the
medals at the 2007 Can-Am Swimmers with a Disability Championships that
wrapped Sunday in Montreal. She swam to gold in the 100m back with a time of
1:13.45 and in the 400m free in 4:55.10.
    The meet was the qualifier for the 2007 Parapanamerican Games running
August 12-19 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
    Caledon, ON-raised Dixon, who was born with just one leg, heads to Brazil
directly from Montreal to drum up support for the Parapanamerican Games, being
held for the first time in the same city and at the same venues as the
Panamerican Games.
    "It is necessary to increase the number of elite-level sporting
opportunities for people with disabilities so the Parapanamerican Games are
another important opportunity for Paralympic sport," says Dixon. "Raising
awareness of Paralympic sport and ensuring equal opportunity for people with a
disability to participate in sports are goals that are dear to my heart."
    While in Brazil, Dixon will go to local schools in Rio and San Paulo,
practice with Brazilian swimmers, go to the Parapanamerican Village, give
speeches, do media events and meet with the Games organizing committee on
accessibility issues. On the trip, she will also be named an ambassador for
the 2007 Parapanamerican Games.
    Dixon says her main message will be that "anyone can get out there and
compete in sports, even if it's not at the Paralympic level."
    "No one should be afraid to go after their goals and dreams," she adds.
"I think everyone can feel the same level of accomplishment that I feel even
if it's not at the Paralympic level. Not everyone can be an elite athlete at
the international level, but everyone can go after their dreams."
    The Canadian Paralympic Committee, in conjunction with its member
National Sports Organizations, will be sending up to 125 athletes to the 2007
Parapanamerican Games. Ten sports are included in the Games: athletics,
football (soccer) 5-a-side, football 7-a-side, judo, powerlifting, sitting
volleyball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball and wheelchair
tennis. Canada will have teams in at least seven of the 10 sports. For more
information about the Parapanamerican Games, go to
www.rio2007.org.br/pan2007/ingles/para_org.asp.

    About the CPC

    The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, charitable,
private organization sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee
(IPC). The CPC's goal is to grow and promote 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, Swimming Canada Communications
Coordinator, (613) 260-1348, (613) 324-0900 (cell), esulpher@swimming.ca;
Norma Reveler, Canadian Paralympic Committee Senior Communications
Coordinator, (613) 569-4333, ext. 227, norma@paralympic.ca


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