B.C. athletes Edgson, Ljubisic inducted into Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame

October 25, 2011

Disponible en anglais seulement

By Gary Kingston, Vancouver Sun October 21, 2011

VANCOUVER - Visually-impaired athletes Michael Edgson and Ljiljana Ljubisic, both from B.C., were among five new inductees tonight into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame.

Edgson, who grew up in Nanaimo and now lives in Delta, won 18 gold and three silver medals in swimming at the 1984, 1988 and 1992 Paralympic Games while setting several world records. He was the first Paralympic swimmer to be inducted into Swimming Canada's Circle of Excellence in 2009 and just finished a three-year term as finance director for the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Ljubisic, of Burnaby, represented Canada in five Paralympic Games, competing in goalball, in which she won a silver medal in 1984, and track and field, where she threw the discuss and shotput and won five Paralympic medals. She was also the first female chair of the International Paralympic Committee's Athlete's Council.

"I'm delighted and honored," said Edgson. "I've been part of the movement for 30 years now in Canada and to see it grow and mature and develop to where we're a leader on the international stage in so many aspects is rewarding."

Edgson, who competed against able-bodied swimmers while with the University of Victoria Vikings swim team, said the '92 Games in Barcelona was a turning point for the Paralympic movement.

"We stepped onto the world stage. We competed in the same pool just after the Olympics and with the number of media, the spotlight was greater around the world than ever before."

Edgson also praised Swimming Canada for being one of the leaders among Canadian sport federations in integrating para athletes into their programs.

"I was a federally carded athlete back in 1984. As a swimmer with a disability to be carded in '84 was unheard of. To have that leadership so early on is a reason Canada is a leader in the pool."

Edgson and Ljubisic were inducted at a ceremony in Ottawa along with the late Clayton Gerein, a seven-time Paralympian from Saskatchewan who competed in wheelchair track, long-time coach Dr. Earl Church and builder Senator Joyce Fairbairn.

gkingston@vancouversun.com

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