Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games launches new era for the Canadian
Paralympic Committee

Top 3 finish, record media coverage and new funding exceeds expectations

VANCOUVER, March 31 /CNW Telbec/ - On home soil, the most successful Paralympic Winter Games for a Canadian team has created the foundation for the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) to continue Canada's leadership Paralympic sport.

Record breaking performances by Canadian Paralympians included: Colette Bourgonje, who won the first-ever Paralympic winter medal on Canadian soil; Lauren Woolstencroft, who swept the podium in Para-Alpine skiing, winning gold in all five disciplines; the McKeever brothers victory in the 20-km cross-country ski race to take Canada's first gold at a home Games; and, Canada's second Paralympic gold in a row in wheelchair curling. These wins, and the performances of the entire 2010 Canadian Paralympic Team, captured the attention of the media and public across Canada, and have inspired a generation of Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport.

"Our goals for these Games were recognition, recruitment and investment, and we achieved all of those," said CPC chief executive officer, Henry Storgaard. "Thanks to the incredible performances of our athletes, and the unprecedented media and television coverage, public response to these Games has shown there is an interest in Paralympic sport. Our goal now is to work with our members, athletes, government and sponsors to keep the interest alive - for the benefit of our Paralympic athletes, as well as all Canadians with a disability."

The start of Canada's first Paralympic Winter Games was boosted by the announcement of $10 million in funding to the CPC by the Federal Government. It ended with long term Canadian Paralympic Team sponsor Pfizer announcing its intention to extend its 14-year sponsorship for another five years, when its current agreement runs out after the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

A record 165 Canadian media were accredited by the CPC for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, and daily media coverage in national, provincial and community newspapers as well as online exposed Canadian's from coast-to-coast to Paralympic Sport.

Thanks to an unprecedented 65 hours of television coverage by the Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium, viewers across the country had the chance to follow the fortunes of a Canadian Paralympic Team for the first-time. During the 10-days for the Games, 13.6 million Canadians tuned in to support Canada's Paralympic athletes.

As predicted, the 2010 Canadian Paralympic Team finished in the top 3 gold medal winning nations. With 19 medals overall, they set a new record for a Paralympic Winter Games, and have inspired the next generation of Canadians with a disability to participate in sport, and pursue dreams of representing their country in international high performance competition.

"As a result of the coverage of these Games more Canadians with a disability than ever before are aware of the opportunity to play sports. This legacy of greater awareness will lead to greater participation and inclusion in local, provincial and national sport programs - critical if Canada is to continue to create Paralympic champions," said CPC president, Carla Qualtrough. "And, the benefits of greater awareness will be seen far beyond sport. Seeing Paralympians compete in high performance international sport has challenged preconceptions of disability, and will change attitudes for the benefit of persons with a disability in all walks of life."

Building on this success, the CPC is now working with its members and partners to develop programs and opportunities dedicated to increasing participation in sport by persons with a disability, and will make more announcements on its future plans following its next meeting of the Board of Directors in May.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, private organization with 43 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement by empowering Canadians with a disability through sport. The CPC is responsible for managing the team of athletes who represent Canada at Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its members. For more information visit, www.paralympic.ca and follow the CPC on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

For further information: For further information: Anna Parisi, Canadian Paralympic Committee, aparisi@paralympic.ca, (778) 329-0329; Marie-Helene Cayer, Canadian Paralympic Committee, macayer@paralympic.ca, (778) 329-0328


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