Last week I received an invitation from the Canadian Paralympic Committee to attend their July 9, 20091 International Paralympic Day event. Watch world class athletes play wheelchair basketball and tennis on atop a building in downtown Vancouver? “Hells ya!” I said!
At the event, I learned that Canada kicks some serious ass at the Paralympics. We have won the 4th most Paralympic medals of any country (404 gold, 338 silver and 355 bronze). That’s a crazy amount of medals for such a small (population-wise) nation! And watching the Paralympians play, I can totally see why. It’s not everyday you get to see some of the top athletes in the world, and these guys did not disappoint! Despite it being a pickup game for fun and photo ops, you could really see the competitive nature of these athletes as they played wheelchair basket ball. The speed, agility and sheer talent was something to behold. I really enjoyed watching the strategy – a person on one team would block a player on the other team by jamming their wheels against the others’. At a few points, I thought one person was going to totally knock another guy right over! No one was pulling any punches, that’s for sure!
And wheelchair tennis was just as awesome! The power with which they hit the ball, the speed with which they could move across the court in their wheelchairs and then also hit the ball with such precision – amazing! If you ever get the chance to attend a Paralympic event – you should really go for it!
Raul, Gus and I even got a chance to have a bit of a chat with Sonia Gaudet, a wheelchair curling Paralympian, about her training – and all I could think was “my dad is going to be sooo jealous that I met a curler!” He loves curling!
Want to keep up to date on the goings on of the Canadian Paralympic Committee? Check them out on:
1International Paralympic Day is actually July 11, but they celebrated it on July 9. Just because they could.