Unsung heroes selected as Paralympic torch bearers



    OTTAWA, Aug. 26 /CNW Telbec/ - Paralympic coach Peter Eriksson,
Paralympic family supporter Eamonn Nolan, Paralympic grassroots supporter Sian
Blyth and Paralympic builder, Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan have been named to
represent the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) as torch bearers in Beijing.
    They will participate in the 2008 Paralympic Games Torch Relay on
September 5 or 6 in Beijing along with six other Canadians.
    The Canadians have been invited to participate in the torch relay by the
Beijing Organizing Committee for the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), which is covering
travel, accommodation and meals for the torchbearers.
    "We are extremely proud to have these four individuals representing
Canada and the CPC in the Beijing Paralympic torch relay," said CPC President
Carla Qualtrough. "Our selection committee chose to honour unsung heroes of
Canada's Paralympic Movement. These four individuals are representative of the
thousands of Canadians who are the 'team behind the team' supporting Canada's
Paralympic athletes."
    Eriksson represents the coach, Nolan the family supporter and Blyth the
community supporter. As announced when the CPC put out its call for
nominations, Sullivan was chosen for his work as a builder and leader in
helping to make the perception of disability disappear and replacing it with
equity.
    Eriksson is the coach of Paralympic multi-medallists such as Chantal
Petitclerc and Jeffrey Adams as well as up-and-coming athletes. He has been to
every Paralympic Summer Games as a coach since 1984, and the athletes he has
trained have won 103 medals over that time. He is the author of several books
on wheelchair racing and athletes with a physical disability.
    Nolan is a public school teacher who has tirelessly supported his wife
Victoria, who will be representing Canada in rowing in Beijing. He drives his
wife to every practice, training camp and regatta as well as to appointments
with massagers, doctors and personal trainers. He has also created a fan
website for the rowing team and publicizes the team's races and individual
rowing accomplishments. He teaches all of his classes about people with
disabilities and the Paralympic Movement.
    Blyth is the volunteer president of the Whistler Adaptive Sports Program,
high performance director for the Disabled Skiers Association of BC, and
program coordinator for BC Wheelchair Sports. She has moved the Whistler
Adaptive Sports Program from a group of about 35 volunteers delivering 50
lessons annually to a registered non-profit organization with 120 volunteers
and nine paid staff who run more than 1,000 lessons a year.
    Eriksson is from Ottawa, ON; Blyth from Vancouver, BC; and Nolan from
Toronto, ON.
    The CPC's Torch Bearer Selection Committee consisted of CPC President
Qualtrough, CPC Vice-President and Finance Director David Legg and CPC Chief
Operating Officer Brian MacPherson.
    The Resort Municipality of Whistler has already announced the two torch
bearers who will represent it - Para-Alpine skier Brad Lennea and Whistler
volunteer Sarah Tipler. The City of Vancouver will be releasing the names of
the four torch bearers it has chosen later this week.
    The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Summer Games run September 6-17 in China.

    About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

    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: Norma Reveler, (613) 569-4333, ext. 227,
norma@paralympic.ca


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