(Ottawa, ON) Canadian wheelchair basketball star Patrick Anderson of Fergus, Ontario has been shortlisted for the prestigious Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.
The 33-year-old Anderson, who is widely considered to be the greatest wheelchair basketball player of all-time was on top of his game at the London 2012 Paralympic Games where he posted career numbers in helping Team Canada to their third gold medal in four Paralympic Games.
"It's a honour to be short-listed. That's going to be a tough group to stand out in though. Win or no, the acknowledgment is a team accomplishment and another feather in the cap of our program and the wheelchair basketball community in Canada," said Anderson.
Anderson has played a key role in the success of the Canadian team since his 1997 debut. Heading into 2012 he averaged an impressive 20.7 points per game through three previous Paralympics in which he won two gold and one silver medal. In London he finished tops in tournament scoring averaging 25 point per game and first in total rebounds with 88. His historical performance included the first two triple doubles (reaching double digits in three different offensive categories), in Canadian history. Anderson also twice came within one rebound of accumulating two additional triple-doubles.
"Pat Anderson's importance to our team rested not only on the individual performances he was able to achieve at the 2012 London Paralympics, but the positive impact he had on the team as a whole. Individually, Pat came back from a two-year hiatus stronger, faster and a better scorer. As a team player, he led by example and enabled many of his teammates to have some of their best games in a Canadian uniform," explained Team Canada head coach Jerry Tonello.
Anderson understood his role as Canada's most potent offensive weapon, but simultaneously adjusted to the increased defensive attention opposing teams were placing on him by distributing the ball to his teammates. He tallied a career-high 64 assists in 2012 after averaging 36 assists per tournaments through the previous three Paralympic Games.
The other nominees for the Laureus Sportsperson of the Year include:
- Johanna Benson (Namibia - athletics) - winner of Namibia's first Games gold medal
- Daniel Dias (Brazil - swimming)- six gold and six world records
- Alan Fonteles Cardoso Oliveira (Brazil - athletics) beat Oscar Pistorius in 200m T44 race to win gold
- David Weir (Great Britain - athletics) - won four gold in four events in T54 racing
- Alex Zanardi (Italy road cycling) Ex F1 driver secured two gold and a silver
The Laureus World Sports Awards recognize the top sporting achievements from the 2012 calendar year, and the winners are voted on by the Laureus World Sports Academy, which is made up of 47 of the greatest sportsmen and sportswomen of all time.
The 2013 Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony, which will be attended by the greatest names in sport, past and present, and broadcast to a worldwide TV audience, will take place on 6 February 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Proceeds from the Laureus World Sports Awards directly benefit and underpin the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, which supports 89 community sports projects around the world. Since its inception, Laureus has raised 40 million EUR for projects which have improved the lives of more than one-and-a-half million young people.
The last five winners of the Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award are as follows:
2012 - Oscar Pistorius (South Africa)
2011 - Verena Bentele (Germany)
2010 - Natalie du Toit (South Africa)
2009 - Daniel Dias (Brazil)
2008 - Esther Vergeer (Netherlands)
For more information, visit www.wheelchairbasketball.ca.
About Team Canada
Wheelchair basketball is a fast-paced, hard-hitting, competitive sport that has emerged as one of the most competitive and athletic sports played at the Paralympic Games. Canada's senior national teams are held in high esteem around the world for the elite skill and control that placed them on the podium with a combined six gold and one silver medal in the last six Paralympic Games.
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