With Glowing Hearts: Paralympic Closing Ceremony a community celebration
paying tribute to sport, perseverance and triumph

WHISTLER, BC, March 19 /CNW/ - As the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games come to a close, marking the end of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, the host mountain community of Whistler - and Canadians in homes from coast to coast - will gather for a warm and heartfelt celebration to bid farewell to the world's best Paralympians and a Games to be remembered as a most remarkable chapter in the country's history.

Themed "With Glowing Hearts", the Closing Ceremony will honor and celebrate more than 500 Paralympic athletes from 44 countries and their achievements of athletic excellence over the past 10 days.

Whistler Medal's Plaza - an intimate venue in the heart of the resort and the site of over 80 medal presentations during the Olympic and Paralympic Games - will come alive one last time. From the rhythm of Canada's North to the energy of British Columbia youth, this finale to ten days of Paralympic sport and to the 2010 Winter Games will be a spirited tribute to the athletes. Canadians from coast to coast to coast will be able to join in the celebration as CTV broadcasts the Ceremony live in English and French across its main networks.

Athlete tributes will be offered by performers from across Canada, including Quebec's popular folk band La Bottine Souriante and Whistler Youth, 45 singers from the Sea to Sky corridor, who will kick-start a Parade of Athletes.

In a spectacular welcome to Squamish and Lil'wat traditional territory, Alex Wells, a Lil'wat Nation hoop dancer, will portray the story of the creation of life, combining drum and dance with rich and colourful culture. In a nod to the power and influence of role models, Alex's daughter will join him on stage to dance with passion and precision.

Whistler's own rising star, 19 year old Ali Milner, will sing O Canada - the inspiration for the Games motto With Glowing Hearts - as a basketball-court size Canadian flag is unfurled above the athletes' heads. Ali will be joined by 185 voices from the Sea to Sky Chorus, while on-screen and live on Whistler Mountain, 125 skiers of all ages and abilities will ski a torch parade down the slopes bearing bright red flares to honour Canada as Paralympic host country.

The evening's headline talent, Canada's own Chantal Kreviazuk, will perform "Today" in recognition of the importance of living life's most special moments, and in recognition of the athlete's unique experience soon coming to a close at the 2010 Games. Next, Tanya Tagaq, an Inuit throat singer from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, will sing a traditional Arctic song, introducing an equally traditional Inuit blanket toss, with airborne participation by Paralympian Kelly Smith.

In an acknowledgment of outstanding achievement and the Best of the Games, the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award will then be presented to one male and one female athlete who have demonstrated an exceptional level of determination to overcome adversities through sports in the Paralympic Games. Dr. Whang Youn Dai has devoted her life to development of disabled sports and the promotion of human rights for people with disabilities. She was Korea's first medical doctor with a disability.

The Paralympic Flag will be lowered and passed on to Sochi 2014. The future host city will delight the audience with a cultural performance marking the transition to the next Paralympic Winter Games. The Paralympic flame will be passed from the youth of Canada to the youth of Russia as emerging artist Andrew Allen from BC's Okanagan region pays tribute to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

To close off the show, Soul Funktion Studio Dancers will perform an explosive dance finale as a flash of fireworks ignite the Whistler sky signaling to all that, with one final exuberant burst of light and sound, the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games have concluded.

"We're thrilled to honour and celebrate the achievements of the 2010 Paralympic athletes with all of Canada during the Closing Ceremony. The ceremony brings to a close the 2010 Games, and, in a deliberate departure from the grandeur of the previous Games Ceremonies, Whistler's small-town, close knit community spirit is symbolic of every community across this country," says Paralympic Ceremony Executive Producer, Patrick Roberge. "With Glowing Hearts" will showcase that unique community spirit and warmth and we invite all Canadians to embrace the values shared by the Paralympians of the 2010 Games: passion, perseverance, celebration and friendship."

About VANOC

VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games were 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.

About PRP

PRP Inc. is a live entertainment and show production company that specializes in creating spectacular, large-scale shows and events. Based out of Vancouver, BC, PRP's award-winning team boast more than 22 years of high-profile international events and entertainment production. Visit www.prpconnect.com.

SOURCE VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

For further information: For further information: Media Contact: VANOC Communications, Tel: (604) 403-1611, E-mail: mediarelations@vancouver2010.com

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VANCOUVER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE FOR THE 2010 OLYMPIC AND PARALYMPIC WINTER GAMES

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