Said Sir Philip: “With the beginning of this great countdown, Paralympic athletes and fans of the Paralympic Movement are joyfully looking forward to a unique experience in March 2010. From this day onwards, the excitement will mount every single day."
Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), will celebrate the milestone today with the official raising of the Paralympic Flag and a number of events organized by the Government of Canada at Parliament Hill in Ottawa along with Prime Minister Steven Harper, John Furlong, CEO of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games (VANOC), Carla Qualtrough, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and other high-ranking officials.
In Vancouver, the public is invited to come and have their photo taken with Vancouver 2010 Paralympic mascot Sumi in front of the Vancouver 2010 Countdown Clock, where cupcakes will be served and Paralympic stickers handed out.
Whistler at the same time will be the place to mingle with some of the world’s top Paralympic Alpine Skiers starting with the awards celebration for the IPC Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals in the afternoon, followed by the distribution of Countdown Cake and a festive countdown celebration at the base of the Games venue.
Said Sir Philip: “With the beginning of this great countdown, Paralympic athletes and fans of the Paralympic Movement are joyfully looking forward to a unique experience in March 2010. From this day onwards, the excitement will mount every single day. Preparations related to the Paralympic Games are fully underway and next week I will have the pleasure of personally inviting the National Paralympic Committees of the world to come to Vancouver and Whistler for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The courage and determination of Paralympians are breathtaking and their personal stories are inspirational for all of us. I can only recommend all to attend the Games - as a participant, volunteer or spectator!”
During the last few weeks, spectators and fans already had the opportunity to watch Paralympic Sport at the test events on the downhill runs, cross-country trails and state-of-the-art biathlon range in Whistler, as well as the brand-new rinks built to host Wheelchair Curling and Ice Sledge Hockey in Vancouver.
Next week, the Chef de Mission Seminar will gather delegates of around 30 National Paralympic Committees to receive updates on topics including Qualification, Accreditation, Sport Entries, Classification, Sport and Venues, Transport, Paralympic Village and NPC Services. Besides various presentations and workshops aiming at briefing the NPCs on the preparations for the Winter Paralympics, listening to their needs and seeking their opinions and suggestions to improve the preparations, the Seminar includes a venue tour to competition venues and the Paralympic Village.
At the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, approximately 600 athletes from 45 countries are expected to compete in five sports: Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling.
For more information, please visit the official website at www.vancouver2010.com.