Canadian Paralympic Committee Honours Stars of the Vancouver 2010

Courtesy Canadian Paralympic Committee

Ottawa, ON (Oct. 24, 2010) – On October 23rd, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) hosted its first-ever Awards Ceremony to celebrate the heroes of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Four prestigious awards were presented to the Canadian athletes who excelled at the Games:

Best Male Athlete Award – Brian McKeever and Robin McKeever
Brian McKeever and guide/brother, Robin McKeever were selected as Best Male Athlete for their outstanding achievements in bringing home three Cross-Country skiing gold medals from the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Brian McKeever was also the first athlete to be named to both the Olympic and Paralympic Teams in the same Winter Games.

Best Female Athlete Award – Lauren Woolstencroft
Known as the Paralympic Winter Games “Golden Girl,” Lauren Woolstencroft was selected as the Best Female Athlete. Lauren is a three-time Paralympic skier with eight gold, one silver, and one bronze medal. At Vancouver 2010, Lauren became the first Canadian winter Paralympian to win five gold medals at a single Games.
“I love my sport and I compete for the love of my sport,” said Lauren Woolstencroft, winner of the Vancouver 2010 Best Female Athlete Award. “I’m proud to be part of the best ever Games and receiving this recognition tonight is icing on the cake.”

Best Debut Award – Viviane Forest and Lindsay Debou
Viviane Forest and guide, Lindsay Debou were honoured with Best Debut. Viviane and Lindsay skied for Canada for their first time at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games and the pair brought home an impressive five medals: 1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze. Going into Vancouver 2010, Viviane had already won two gold medals in the sport of goalball at the 2000 Sydney games and 2004 Athens Games.

Best Team Award – Wheelchair Curling Team
The Canadian Wheelchair Curling Team was selected as the winner of the Best Team Award for winning Canada’s second consecutive gold medal in the sport. This incredible team was comprised of five Paralympic athletes: Sonja Gaudet, Darryl Neighbour, Jim Armstrong, Ina Forest, and Bruno Yizek.
“These athletes made the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games a significant moment in Canadian sport history and reaffirmed to the world that Team Canada is a strong competitor,” said Henry Storgaard, Chief Executive Officer for the CPC. “I am so pleased we could honour them here today and give them the recognition they deserve for their incredible accomplishments. By their excellence, they have raised the profile of the Paralympic Movement and have inspired a whole nation.”

The recipients for the four Athlete Awards were selected by the Flag Bearer Committee for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Games as the official Canadian nominees for the International Paralympic Committee’s Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Games Awards. This is the first time CPC has developed its own awards to recognize the athletes at the national level.

The Canadian Paralympic Committee also made the decision to develop two coaching awards in conjunction with the already established athlete awards. The two Coaching Awards were selected by the CPC Coaching Council to recognize the critical role coaches play on the Paralympic team and in the parasport development system. These awards and their recipients are:

Tim Frick Paralympic Coach Excellence Award – Kaspar Wirz
Vancouver 2010 Para-Nordic Coach Kaspar Wirz was selected as the first ever recipient of the Tim Frick Paralympic Excellence Award. Kaspar has lead Canada’s Para-Nordic athletes at four Paralympic Games: Nagano (1998), Salt Lake City (2002), Turin (2006), and Vancouver (2010). Kaspar’s passion for Paralympic sport is infectious and has attracted many talented athletes to the Para-Nordic skiing in recent years.

Para-Development Coach Award – David Greig
David Greig is the Para-Athletics National Talent Development Coach for Athletics Canada.  A champion for Paralympic Sport, he has lent his expertise to a wide range of organizations as a volunteer and coach. He has been recognized for his valuable contributions with a number of prestigious coaching awards, including Coach of the Year 2008 from Paralympics Ontario (now ParaSport Ontario).
“Being the first recipient of this award, and considering the impressive history of Paralympic sport in this country makes it such an honour to be named,” said David Greig, 2010 recipient of the Para-Development Coaching Award. “To have an athlete come to you with a dream and for them to have the confidence in you to help them reach that dream is something special.”

In addition, the following individuals received recognition for their role in hosting World Championships on Canadian Soil. By bringing these events to Canada, they helped to raise the profile of the Paralympic Movement.

2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships—Kathy Newman & Gail Hamamoto
Kathy Newman and Gail Hamamoto were both on the Board of Directors for the 2010 World Wheelchair Rugby Championships, as well as Co-Chairs for the event’s organizing committee. From Sept 21 to 26, 2010, the Richmond Olympic Oval was the site of some of the best wheelchair rugby the sport has ever seen. During the event, over 14,000 people passed through the doors and thousands of people from 41 countries watched via webcast. This helped raise awareness within Canada and also helped position Canada on the world stage.

2010 UCI Road Para-cycling World Championships—François Gariépy
This year Canada hosted approximately 500 athletes from 40 countries, as well as 5000 spectators, in Baie-Comeau, Quebec for the 2010 UCI Road Para-cycling World Championships, thanks in large part to François Gariépy. François is the Founding President of OBNL Paramanic International, an organization that runs sports and cultural events nationally and internationally in Northern Quebec. Paramenic International organized the incredibly successful WWCC in Baie-Comeau. François has 30 years experience as a communications expert and is also the Vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce of Manicouagan, in Baie-Comeau.
The CPC extends congratulations to all recipients and is grateful for the hard work they have done for Team Canada and the Paralympic Movement.