Canadian dignitaries and athletes recently celebrated the beginning of the one-year countdown to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, which will be held in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In Ottawa, Québec, the Honourable Gary Lunn, Canadian Minister of State for Sport, raised the Paralympic flag on Parliament Hill.
“The 2010 Paralympic Games will be the first time Canada will host the Paralympic Winter Games. This is an exciting opportunity to support our Canadian Paralympic athletes and share in their dream of winning gold at home,” said Lunn. “Our athletes are showing the world what they are made of, and in 2010 they will shine here at home.”
Meanwhile, CFB Valcartier, a Québec military training camp, hosted politicians, Canadian Paralympic athletes, members of Canada’s Soldier On program, and the 2010 Winter Games mascots, Sumi, Quatchi, and Miga.
Present were Benoit St-Armand (ice sledge hockey), Sgt. (ret.) Steve Daniel (rowing), and Greg Lagace of Soldier On.
“To be a Paralympic athlete takes exceptional passion, focus, and dedication,” said Senator Andree Champagne at CFB Valcartier. “Athletes like Steve Daniel are not only success stories from the Soldier On program, but are a true inspiration to all Canadians, and we will all cheer them on in 2010.”
“An injury doesn’t have to be the end of military career, nor the end of a sporting career,” said the Honourable Peter Mackay, Minister of National Defense. “Paralympic athletes demonstrate to everyone that physical disability is no obstacle to achieving the dream of competing against the world’s finest athletes.”
The 2010 Games will be the tenth Paralympics, and will include the following competitions:
- Alpine skiing, including downhill, giant slalom, slalom, super-G, and super combined.
- Biathlon, including short- and long-distance events.
- Cross-country skiing, including relays and short-, middle-, and long-distance events.
- Men’s ice sledge hockey.
- Wheelchair curling.
Approximately 650 athletes from more than 40 countries are expected to attend the Games. The Opening Ceremonies will be held on March 12, 2010, at Vancouver’s BC Place stadium.