Rio Tinto Alcan welcomes home Chantal Petitclerc, one of the most decorated Paralympic athletes in Canadian history, with her five new gold medals



    MONTREAL, Sept. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Rio Tinto Alcan employees were among
the many fans at Montreal-Trudeau airport to welcome home Chantal Petitclerc,
one of the most decorated Paralympic athletes in Canadian history, as she
arrived home today with a career total of 21 Paralympic medals, including five
gold from this month's Paralympic Games in Beijing, China.
    "We're very proud of Chantal's remarkable achievements," said Dick Evans,
chief executive, Rio Tinto Alcan. "Many of our employees have been following
her success over the course of our ten-year partnership. She is a source of
great inspiration and motivation for us all."
    With her first medal in Beijing, gold in the 100m, Chantal became the
athlete with the most wheelchair track and field medals. She continued her
outstanding performance at the games with four more gold medals (in the 200m,
400m, 800m and 1500m T54 races). Chantal also won gold medals in these five
events at the 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens.
    During the final lap of the 1500m, entering the home stretch of her final
Paralympic race, Chantal admits that she lost her concentration a little bit.
"200 metres from the finish line I knew that I was going to win and I just
wanted them to give me my medal right away," she said with a smile. "For once,
I raised my arms with 10 more metres to go. It was really important for me to
win these five gold medals, because it means I'll go down in history in my
sport."
    She broke two of her own world records in China, winning the 200m in
27.52 seconds, a time .77 seconds faster than the world record she set during
the heats, and finishing the 800m in 1:45.19 seconds, 2.31 seconds faster than
her previous best. She also set a Paralympic record in the 100m heats at
16.07 seconds.
    As part of her extraordinary athletic career, Chantal Petitclerc is also
the only Canadian athlete to have won gold medals at the Paralympic, Olympic,
and Commonwealth Games. She has been recognised off-track as a Chevalier of
the Ordre National du Québec and received a Meritorious Service Medal, Civil
Division, from Canada's Governor General.
    Beijing marked Chantal's fifth and final appearance at the Paralympic
Games. Rio Tinto Alcan looks forward to exploring opportunities to support
Chantal as she focuses on new athletic endeavours including road racing and
marathons. The company has been the Quebec athlete's major sponsor since 1998.

    About Rio Tinto

    Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the
UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto
Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
    Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral
resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and
uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and
iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia
and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe
and southern Africa.




For further information:

For further information: Rio Tinto Alcan Media Relations, Canada:
Stefano Bertolli, (514) 848-8151, stefano.bertolli@riotinto.com,
www.riotinto.com/riotintoalcan; Media Contact for Chantal Petitclerc: Guy
Ménard, Olympe Inc., (514) 966-5930, http://www.chantalpetitclerc.com

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