It’s the cream of the crop in the athlete category for the 2015 Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame: wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc, wheelchair basketball player Marnie Abbott-Peter and para-alpine skier Lauren Woolstencroft are simply three of the most successful athletes in Canadian sports history.
You don’t need to dig deep to figure this out. Their performance statistics alone force a double-take. But beyond the numbers, these three women continue to distinguish themselves as ideal representatives for the Paralympic movement.
Montreal’s Petitclerc needs no introduction particularly since the 2008 Games in Beijing. It was there she became a household name in Canada with a quintuple gold medal performance in wheelchair racing to complete her great career with 21 medals – including 14 gold – over five Games. She’s achieved a rare feat of being named Chef de Mission for a Canadian Games team twice – 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio. She is also a sought-after broadcaster and motivational speaker in both official languages.
Vancouver’s Abbott-Peter - a three-time Paralympic Games and world champion with the women’s wheelchair basketball team- sustained a spinal cord injury in a ski crash. Only 18 at the time, Abbott-Peter was introduced to wheelchair sport by Rick Hansen just as he was about to embark on his Man in Motion World Tour. He unveiled a world of new possibilities and reignited her passion for sport. Today Abbott-Peter’s list of post-career awards, and coaching accolades are as impressive as her athletic achievements.
Woolstencroft powered to international stardom in para-alpine skiing. She was the darling of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games earning five gold medals on the Whistler slopes. After working as an electrical engineer at BC Hydro, she is now following another passion and running a coffee shop in Banff called Whitebark Café, based out of the Aspen Lodge. She remains involved in sport at many levels including as a board member with ViaSport British Columbia.
The three women are part of a magnificent group of seven being inducted in to the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame for 2015. They will be officially celebrated at a Gala on November 27 in Ottawa. Tickets are available for purchase at paralympic.ca/canadian-paralympic-hall-of-fame.