Celebrating 25 years of Para sport: Canada stars in swimming at 2007 Parapan American Games

Canadian Paralympic Committee

July 07, 2021

Dixon, Grand’Maison and Cole set the tone ahead of Beijing Games

A Para athlete is in a pool with celebratory confetti around them celebrating 25 years of Para sport

With established Para swimming stars Stephanie Dixon, Valerie Grand’Maison and Andrea Cole in the line-up, it was no surprise that Canada dominated the women’s races in the pool at the 2007 Parapan American Games, held in Rio de Janeiro.

The Canadian women took 57 medals in the pool, 20 more than second place USA and almost 30 better than Mexico in third. For Canada that total was more than half of its overall 112-medal intake for the Games.

Dixon, already with two brilliant Paralympic Games performances on her resume, collected six gold and a silver while Cole earned five gold and a silver and Grand’Maison, Brittany Gray and Anne Polinario were quadruple champions.

Later this summer, Dixon will be Canada’s chef de mission at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games. 

Jessica Tuomela, a candidate to compete at the upcoming Games in Tokyo in the triathlon, was a Para swimmer back then and won two gold and two silver. Katarina Roxon, nominated by Swimming Canada for a fourth Paralympic Games this summer, took home a gold, two silver and a bronze at age 14.

It was also a strong Games for the Canadian team’s male Para swimmers. 

Donovan Tildesley led the charge with five gold while Benoit Huot, Brian Hill and Drew Christensen were triple champions.
Huot broke the world record in the S10 200m individual medley while Grand’Maison did the same in the S13 400-m freestyle.

There were 10 sports on the program in 2007, as the Parapan Am Games continued to grow. Now in its third iteration, 2007 was the first year it was hosted in the same city as the Pan Am Games. 

In athletics, visually impaired middle distance runner Jason Dunkerley, wheelchair racer Jessica Matassa and thrower Kris Vriend were double gold medallists. Canadians also reached the podium five times in table tennis.

In team sports Canada took silver in men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball and bronze in men’s sitting volleyball and seven-a-side soccer.

This year, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Pfizer Canada are celebrating 25 years of supporting and promoting the Paralympic Movement together. Throughout 2021, we will look back on special sporting moments and milestones from each year of the partnership. 

Click here to read each moment so far.  

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