Five different teams have been announced as finalists in the Best Team Category for the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) 2011 Paralympic Sport Awards, proudly partnered by the IPC’s International Partner, Allianz.
The award will be presented by the IPC to the squad with the best team performance at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.
Finalists for the award include:
• Canada Wheelchair Curling: The squad defended its gold medal from Torino 2006 with a thrilling 8-7 victory over Korea in the Vancouver 2010 gold-medal game. The team consisted of Jim Armstrong, Darryl Neighbour, Ina Forrest, Sonja Gaudet and Bruno Yizek, and it was coached by Joe Rea. Canada posted a 7-2 record before defeating Sweden in the semi-finals and Korea in the finals.
• USA Ice Sledge Hockey: The Americans went undefeated at Vancouver 2010, and won gold with a 2-0 shutout victory over Japan in the finals. The USA established itself as a top contender in the Ice Sledge Hockey world with its first Paralympic Games gold-medal performance coming just a year after winning its first World Championship.
• Japan Ice Sledge Hockey: The Japanese squad won a surprise silver at Vancouver 2010 after beating the host nation and favourites, Canada, in the semi-finals. Although Japan eventually fell to the USA in the finals, its performance in Vancouver was exceptional for a nation that fielded a Paralympic Games team for the first time in just 1998.
• Russia Cross-Country Skiing Relay Open (men): The men’s squad clocked a time of 38:54.8 in the 1x4km + 2x5km Relay to win gold over Ukraine and Norway. The team consisted of Sergey Shilov, Kirill Mikhaylov and Nikolay Polukhin, in addition to guide skier Andrey Tokarey. Russia won 22 overall Cross-Country Skiing medals in Vancouver, including seven golds.
• Russia Cross-Country Skiing Relay Open (women): The women’s team skied the 3x2.5km Relay in a time of 20:32.2 to speed past Ukraine and Belarus for the gold. Maria Iovleva, Mikhalina Lysova and Liubov Vasilyeva made up the team, in addition to guide skiers Alexey Ivanov and Natalia Yakimova. Russia won 22 overall Cross-Country Skiing medals in Vancouver, including seven golds.
The award winner will be announced during a special ceremony held in conjunction with the 2011 IPC General Assembly in Beijing, China, in December.