Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games; countdown to small-town spirit, big-city facilities, world-class exposure

    VANCOUVER, March 12 /CNW/ - Two years from today, British Columbians and
Canadians will welcome some of the world's top and most inspiring winter
athletes for the start of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
    To celebrate the two-year countdown the Vancouver Organizing Committee
for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) released the 2010
Paralympic daily Competition Schedule. VANOC is also hosting celebrations
today in Vancouver and Whistler that include Paralympic athletes, the
Vancouver 2010 mascots, the launch of a new and inspirational Paralympic
video, and in Whistler, a performance by 2008 Canadian Indie Awards nominee,
Justin Hines.
    "Today we are reminded of the exciting and unique opportunity before us.
In 2010, British Columbia and Canada will host some of the most memorable and
inspirational moments in sport history by showcasing the extraordinary
achievements of Paralympic athletes from around the world," said John Furlong,
VANOC Chief Executive Officer. "Between the Paralympic Sport Events taking
place in the winter of 2009, and the staging of the 2010 Paralympic Winter
Games in both Vancouver and Whistler, the world will be introduced to a new
group of heroes who will change perceptions of sport and create role models
for future generations."
    The 2010 Paralympic daily Competition Schedule released today has been
approved by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and gives a
day-by-day account of sporting activities over the nine days of Paralympic
competition. Also available is the complete calendar of 2008-09 Olympic and
Paralympic Sport Events. Both the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Competition
Schedule and the 2008-09 Sport Event calendar are available at
    The new Vancouver 2010 Paralympic video, shown at each of the
celebrations today, showcases the preparations being made for Vancouver 2010
by Paralympic athletes and coaches from around the world, and by VANOC,
volunteers and Canadian sport fans. The streaming web-based video is available
for screening at
    "Each of us reaches a point in our lives when we are faced with something
that requires a truly extraordinary effort," said Paralympic gold medallist,
Paul Rosen (ice sledge hockey, Torino 2006), who is featured in the video. "We
have, in front of us, one of those moments - an opportunity for each and every
one of us to step up and become something better and to inspire a younger
generation. The world will be watching us, and with that comes a
responsibility - to our team, to our communities and to our country."

    2010 Paralympic Winter Games countdown activities taking place today

    Statement in the House of Commons

    James Moore, Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific Gateway and the
Vancouver-Whistler Olympics, will deliver a statement in the House of Commons
today declaring the 2010 Winter Games as one festival, two events and 60 days
of celebration, recognizing the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games as the first to fly the Olympic and Paralympic Flags side by side.

    Vancouver celebration:
    Paralympic School Day with Queen Victoria Annex School and media access

    Time:         9:00 am to 11:30 am
    Location:     Trout Lake Community Centre, 3350 Victoria Drive,
                  Vancouver, BC.

    VANOC staff and four-time Paralympic medallist Todd Nicholson (ice sledge
hockey, Torino 2006, Salt Lake 2002, Nagano 1998, Lillehammer 1994) will join
students and staff of Queen Victoria Annex school today for a presentation on
the Paralympic Games and sport demonstrations (ice sledge hockey, wheelchair
curling, sit-skiing). The team will be joined by the Vancouver 2010 mascots,
led by Paralympic mascot, Sumi. Media are invited to both participate in and
cover this exciting and interactive workshop that teaches children the values
of the Paralympic Movement.
    Please note that the presentation is limited to students and staff of
Queen Victoria Annex school and the media. The event will include media
availability with Todd Nicholson and Cathy Priestner Allinger, VANOC executive
vice president, Sport and Games Operations.

    Whistler celebration:
    Two years to go Paralympic Winter Games celebration

    Time:         3:30 pm to 6:30 pm
    Location:     Whistler Public Library

    The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games countdown event takes place at
the new Whistler Public Library today from 3:30 pm to 6:30 pm. Today's
celebration in Whistler is an opportunity to showcase some remarkable,
inspiring achievements by Canadians with a disability. The event will include
folk/pop singer/songwriter and 2008 Canadian Indie Awards nominee, Justin
Hines, along with remarks by local athletes including Tyler Mosher (Para
cross-country skiing) and Paralympian Donovan Tildesley (swimming, Athens
2004). The Vancouver 2010 mascots will be in attendance, the new Vancouver
2010 Paralympic video showcasing the Paralympic Winter Games will be screened
and a ceremonial countdown cake cutting will take place at 5:30pm.

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

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts, Katie Green, Vancouver 2010,
(778) 778-6473; Mary Fraser, Vancouver 2010, (778) 328-3667

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