AWARD FOR BEST GAMES DEBUT
summer mortimer, para swimming
Winner of four swimming medals in her Paralympic Games debut at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Summer Mortimer was Canada's most decorated athlete in London. Mortimer won gold medals in the 50m freestyle and 100m backstroke, silver in the 200m individual medley and bronze in the 100m freestyle.
Mortimer is also the world record holder in the 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 50m backstroke, 100m backstroke and 200m backstroke. Four of those records were established in a brilliant 2010 season which included four gold medals at the IPC World Championships.
At the 2012 Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Swimming Trials in Montreal in April, Mortimer beat her world mark in the 50 freestyle and neared her standard in the 100 freestyle as well.
Mortimer's athletic skills were clearly evident when she pursued a career in para-swimming after a trampoline accident in 2008 left her with limited range of motion in her feet. Mortimer was also a competitive swimmer before her accident and the transition to para-swimming helped her deal with a difficult phase in her life. After a rehabilitation period, Mortimer established herself among the top para-swimmers in the world.
Mortimer is coached by Reg Chappell at Duck Swimming in Aurora, Ont. and was also coached by her father, Craig.
At Swimming Canada's 2021 Big Splash Awards, Mortimer won Team Aquatic Supplies Para-swimming Female Swimmer of the Year and the People's Choice Race of the Year award.
AWARD FOR BEST MALE ATHLETE
patrick anderson, wheelchair basketball
Patrick Anderson is a three-time Paralympic gold medalist and is widely considered the greatest wheelchair basketball athlete of all time. Ever since he burst onto the international scene as junior, leading Canada to back-to-back World Junior Championship titles in which he was twice named the most valuable player, he has played a key role for Canada. Most recently, at the London 2012 Paralympic Games he spearheaded the team to its third gold medal in the last four Paralympics (a run of success that also includes silver in Beijing in 2008). Anderson posted career-best numbers in London and 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.
His talents on and off the court have garnered him international fame as a great role model and fabulous ambassador of the sport. He is well known for his basketball flair and charismatic personality.
AWARD FOR BEST FEMALE ATHLETE
michelle stilwell, para athletics
A gold medalist at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball, Michelle Stilwell is no stranger to athletic success. However, she was forced to quit basketball shortly after Sydney due to complications arising from her spinal cord injury. Rather than give up, Stilwell moved to a new sport – athletics - and in 2006 won a gold medal and set a record at the World Championships in the 200m and captured silver in the 100m.
In May 2008, just seven weeks post-surgery, Stilwell broke the world record in both the 100m and 200m. Four months later, at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games, she won gold medals in the 100m and 200m events, setting new Paralympic records in both.
In 2011, Stilwell brought home three gold medals and a silver from the IPC World Championships in New Zealand, after major spine surgery just five months prior.
Most recently, Stilwell made history as she repeated as Paralympic champion in the 200m at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. She also captured the silver medal in the 100m. Stilwell now holds a total of four Paralympic gold medals and one silver, won at three Paralympic Games.
The mother of one was named Sport B.C.'s Athlete with a Disability of the Year for the third time in 2012. She also is an ambassador for ActNow BC and the Rick Hansen Foundation.
AWARD FOR BEST TEAM PERFORMANCE
WHEELCHAIR basketball TEAM
The Canadian wheelchair basketball high performance program has emerged as the pre-eminent model for success in the world and is highly respected for producing some of the most prolific athletes to ever play the game.
Led by head coach Jerry Tonello, the Men's National Team went undefeated at the London 2012 Paralympic Games to capture their third gold medal in the last four Paralympic Games. It is the latest accomplishment in a sport dynasty that has placed them on the podium at four consecutive Paralympics, including gold medals in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004, and silver in Beijing 2008. They have also brought home hardware from five of the last six World Championships, including consecutive bronze medals in 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002. The team captured gold at the World Championships in 2006 and a host of other competitions throughout the last decade and a half.
DEVELOPMENT COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD
Chris Holden has been involved in Paralympic sport for more than 25 years and has been instrumental in finding the resources and the support to help people with a disability enjoy a healthy lifestyle and participate in sport.
Holden is a program director and a senior coach for two volunteer-based, non-profit programs in the Ottawa area. His winters are dedicated to the National Capital Division of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS) promoting alpine skiing and snowboarding. Summers are spent coaching adaptive water skiing and wakeboarding for SkiAbility Ottawa, a program he co-founded in 2003.
Holden's consistently positive approach and contagious enthusiasm are appreciated by parents, officials, volunteers and athletes. Athletes in his programs are able to build on the sport outcomes and apply it to their scholastic, professional and personal endeavors. Many have gone on to represent Canada, become coaches or start other programs.
Holden sits on several national and international sport committees aimed at promoting and improving sport opportunities for athletes with a disability, including the CPC's Paralympic Development Committee. His roles and passions include: advocacy for independence and accessibility, mentorship and training of coaches, quality of recruitment and first contact experiences in parasport and Long Term Athlete Development.
TIM FRICK PARALYMPIC COACH EXCELLENCE AWARD
JErry tonello, wheelchair basketball
Jerry Tonello has been playing and coaching wheelchair basketball in Canada for more than 20 years and has developed a strong reputation for his technical expertise. His international coaching career began in 1991, when he joined Canada's high performance program as an assistant coach. Team Canada went on to capture back-to-back gold medals at the Paralympic Games in 2000 and 2004, as well as a world championship title in 2006.
In 2007, Tonello took over the role of associate head coach and helped guide the team to another podium performance at the Paralympic Games, this time earning a silver medal in Beijing in 2008. Tonello became head coach in 2009 and most recently led Team Canada to its third gold medal in the last four Paralympic Games, striking gold in London in 2012.
Tonello is a NCCP Level 3 certified coach in wheelchair basketball and a Chartered Professional Coach registered with Coaches of Canada. He is a graduate of the School of Kinesiology and Heath Science at York University and earned a Bachelor of Education at the University of Toronto.