SANTIAGO – Boccia player Alison Levine (Montreal, Que.) has been named Canada’s Closing Ceremony flag bearer for the Santiago 2023 Parapan American Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced Sunday.
“I never in a million years thought of this moment,” said Levine. “I’m shocked, everyone who has carried that flag has been selected for a reason, and to just feel like I was selected for a reason as well is so amazing. I’m truly honoured.”
Levine led the charge this week for Canada’s successful boccia team, which won six medals. Competing in her third Parapan Am Games, she captured gold in both of her boccia events. First, she took the title in the women’s BC4 individual tournament, her first-ever individual podium at the Games. The 33-year-old, currently ranked world No. 3, did so by defeating the world’s No. 1 player Leidy Chica Chica of Colombia in the final.
The two-time Paralympian capped it with a gold in BC4 pairs alongside Iulian Ciobanu, upgrading the silver (Toronto 2015) and bronze (Lima 2019) medals she won at her past Parapan Am appearances. With the victory, she and Ciobanu also earned a quota spot for Canada in BC4 pairs for next summer’s Paralympic Games in Paris.
“It’s such an honour to be able to represent my country all the time as an athlete and now to do it for the Closing Ceremony, carrying that flag, the rest of Canada behind me, it’s amazing.”
Levine will take centre stage at the Closing Ceremony tonight at 9 p.m. local / 7 p.m. ET., which can be streamed live on CBCSports.ca.
“This is going to be a cumulation of this year, a cumulation of the 10 years of my boccia journey,” she added. “I can’t wait, and I know it’s going to be so awesome.”
“A huge congratulations to Alison on being named Canada’s Closing Ceremony flag bearer,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “Alison has been an incredible ambassador within the Canadian and international Paralympic Movements for many years, and this has been so evident this week with her performance on the court and leadership off the court. It is wonderful to be able to celebrate her with this much-deserved honour.”
“We are absolutely thrilled for Alison to be Canada’s flag bearer at the Closing Ceremony,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “She has been one of the world’s best in her sport for quite some time now, and to see her hit a new pinnacle of Parapan Am gold was spectacular this week. We are proud to have her represent Canada and lead this team at the end of the Games.”
The Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games began on November 17 with Para cyclist Shelley Gautier and wheelchair tennis player Rob Shaw carrying the flag for Canada in the Opening Ceremony. The Canadian Parapan Am Team, with 135 athletes competing across 14 sports, has currently claimed 48 medals with competition still to conclude on Sunday.