Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame Inductees 2008 Announced

Bonn, Germany - Four accomplished Paralympians and one Paralympic coach, will be celebrated as inductees of the Paralympic Hall of Fame, presented by Visa, this year. The ceremony will be held during the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games in China. 22 Aug 2008 By IPC

“Visa is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Paralympic Hall of Fame,”

The five inductees - Andre Viger (CAN), Claudia Hengst (GER), Connie Hansen (DEN), Peter Homann (AUS) and Kevin McIntosh (AUS) - were elected after an extensive review process by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) for their athletic performance, history of fair play and participation in community service.

“Visa is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Paralympic Hall of Fame,” said Michael Lynch, Head of Global Sponsorship Management, Visa Inc. “Visa’s sponsorship of the Paralympic Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates the universal values of sportsmanship, excellence and a commitment embodied in these athletes and coaches and recognizes the great influence they have had on the Paralympic Movement.”

The Beijng 2008 Paralympic Hall of Fame members are:

André Viger: Canada, Athletics

Viger competed in five Paralympic Games, including Arnhem 1980, Stoke Mandeville/New York 1984, Seoul 1988, Barcelona 1992 and Atlanta 1996. Winning gold medals for the marathon competition both in Stoke Mandeville/New York and Seoul, he picked up the gold in Barcelona for the men’s 10,000m race. In 1986, Viger was named “Athlete of the Year” in Quebec and was the recipient of the Maurice Richard Award from the Saint-Jean-Baptist Society. Although he passed away last year, his influence on many Canadian athletes will continue.

Claudia Hengst: Germany, Swimming

Hengst has been active and winning medals in every Paralympic Games since Seoul 1988. She impressed audiences the most with her debut in Korea with six gold medals. Barcelona 1992 saw her biggest collection of medals, totalling eight, with gold medals in the 100m Butterfly, Medley and three Freestyle events. Hengst also took away several medals at the World Championships in Malta, Christchurch and Argentina.

Connie Hansen: Denmark, Athletics

Hansen took home a total of nine gold medals combined from the Paralympic Games in Seoul 1988 and Barcelona 1992. She was successful at both competitions with racing in the women’s 1,500m, 800m, and the women’s Marathon. Hansen also showed the spectators her consistent 800m victories, along with other events at several World Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Games. Named “Athlete of the Year” in 1992 by the Danish Sport Organization for the Disabled, she is an Executive Committee member of the National Paralympic Committee of Denmark.

Peter Homann: Australia, Cycling

Homann competed in three consecutive Paralympic Games, winning both gold and silver medals. In Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000, he won the gold medal for the Mixed Bicycle Road Race CP. In Athens, four years later, he picked up the gold in the Team Sprint event and the silver in the 3,000m men’s Individual Pursuit Bicycle CP. Successfully competing in events before and in between the Games in Belgium and the USA, he has also been the Team Captain for the Australian Paralympic Cycling Team. Homann is the athlete’s representative on the Cycling Australia Athletes’ Commission.

Kevin McIntosh: Australia, Cycling

Defying any assumptions about number of medals possible, McIntosh led his athletes in collecting a total of 10 gold medals as well as several silver and bronze medals each in Sydney and in Athens. McIntosh received the award for Australian Paralympic Committee Coach of the Year in 2000, 2002 and 2004. He has been committed to the development of athletes with a disability throughout Australia to ensure the success of its Paralympic Cycling Team.

“The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Visa Hall of Fame inductees have been outstanding in their sporting excellence, proven their elite athletic ability with their performance, and along with their character, become role models for future Paralympic athletes,” said Sir Philip Craven, IPC President.

According to the IPC, to be eligible for induction in the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame, athlete and coach candidates must have participated in at least two Paralympic Games and must have won a number of medals, either directly or, in the case of a coach, through the athlete(s) or team(s) they trained. An athlete or coach must have ceased to be an active participant in the Paralympic Games for at least four years, or one Paralympic cycle, prior to the year of election.

The Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame election and induction ceremonies are held in conjunction with both the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic Winter Games.

Visa is a Worldwide Partner of the IPC and currently sponsors the Paralympic Games as part of its agreement with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to support both the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Visa is the exclusive payment card and official payment service for the Olympic and Paralympic Games through 2012.

For more information and pictures of all inductees, please see the official website.