"The upcoming year will be filled with hard work, attention to detail, travel, focus and passion as Canadian athletes prepare to be the best in the world in London."
With exactly one year to go until the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee is looking forward with great anticipation to the Canadian Paralympic Team competing in London.
Building on the success of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Canada is aiming to continue its winning ways at future Paralympic Games. The Canadian Paralympic Team's goal is to finish in the top eight nations in at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, based on gold medal count.
"This is a special time for Paralympic Sport around the world as athletes and coaches prepare for London," said Canadian Paralympic Team London 2012 Chef de Mission, Gaétan Tardif. "It was during the Vancouver 2010 Winter Paralympic Games when many Canadians got to know their Paralympic athletes a bit better. Now, building off those home Games in Vancouver, we want to sustain that same level of excellence, spirit, success and support for our Canadian Paralympians all the way to London."
The dates of the London 2012 Paralympic Games are August 29 to September 9, 2012.
World record-holder wheelchair sprinter Michelle Stilwell (Nanoose Bay, B.C.) is one of the leading Canadian medal potential athletes for London.
"It's hard to believe there is just one year remaining until the Games," said Stilwell, a three-time Paralympic gold medallist. "The upcoming year will be filled with hard work, attention to detail, travel, focus and passion as Canadian athletes prepare to be the best in the world in London. I think I can speak for all Canadian athletes that we will leave no stone unturned in our quest to make Canadians proud - and we are so grateful for our coaches, sponsors, training facilities and funding that allow us to excel on the world stage. Go Canada!"
To compete in Great Britain is especially meaningful as it is the birthplace of the modern Paralympic Movement. It was Dr. Ludwig Guttmann who first recognized the rehabilitative power of sport for injured soldiers. What started with one sport, archery, grew into the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948. Since then, the Paralympics have grown to become one of the world's largest sporting events. The first official Paralympic Games took place in Rome in 1960.
At the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, Team Canada placed seventh overall, winning 19 gold, 10 silver and 21 bronze medals for a total of 50 medals. The Canadian team in Beijing numbered 144 Canadian athletes.
The Canadian Paralympic Team for London 2012 will not be selected until the summer of 2012, as athletes achieve the required qualification standards. The Canadian Team size is expected to number around 150 athletes.
There will be 20 sports on the program at the London 2012 Paralympic Games: Archery, Athletics, Boccia, Cycling, Equestrian, Goalball, Judo, Powerlifting, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Sitting Volleyball, Soccer 5-a-side, Soccer 7-a-side, Table Tennis, Wheelchair Basketball, Wheelchair Fencing, Wheelchair Rugby and Wheelchair Tennis.
Before London, however, Canada will compete at the Guadalajara 2011 Parapan American Games from Nov. 12 to 20, 2011. Guadalajara will be a qualifier for London for team sports, while most individual sports qualify at world championships and international competitions between 2010 and 2012.