Celebrating 25 years of Para sport: Canadian swimmers win showdown at Sydney 2000

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 07, 2021

Swimmers win half of Canada’s medals; Canada top swimming nation

Stephanie Dixon competing in swimming at the Paralympic Games with the Pfizer 25 year celebration design overlaid on the image.

Stephanie Dixon, Benoit Huot and Jessica Sloan highlighted an exceptional performance by Canada’s young Para swimming team at the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, helping Canada to 96 podium appearances for third in the medal standings.

It was Canada’s fourth highest medal count at the Paralympics, and it hasn’t been matched since as the Games continue to evolve and grow exponentially worldwide. 

Sloan, then 17, led Canada with six gold, a single Games record, in what would be her only Paralympic appearance. Dixon notched five gold and a silver and Huot collected two gold and three silver. 

The Canadian Para swim team captured 48 medals and climbed out of the pool at the end of the Games first in the sport’s standings with 23 gold medals. 

The top nation in swimming actually came down to the final race of the Games, in what was a thrilling finish. Canada and Spain were tied with 22 gold and 47 medals overall apiece with only the women’s 34-point 4 x 100m medley relay remaining. The Canadians – Dixon, Sloan, Elisabeth Walker and Darda Geiger – won gold to secure Canada the incredible title of best swim nation in Sydney. 

Other multi-medallists in the pool were Philippe Gagnon and Danielle Campo with three gold and a silver each, Walker with three gold, and Kirby Cote and Walter Wu with two gold and two silver each.

Canada’s swimmers were not the only big successes in Sydney. Not to be outdone, wheelchair racers Jeff Adams and Lisa Franks added five medals apiece in Sydney while the men’s and women’s wheelchair basketball teams each won gold, the only time Canada has taken both top podium positions in the sport. 

Today, Dixon and Huot are known as two of the most successful Canadian Paralympians of all time but in 2000 they were 16-year-olds making their Paralympic debuts. Dixon ended her career in 2008 with 19 Paralympic Games medals while Huot capped his career in 2016 with 20 medals. 

In the years following their retirements, Huot and Dixon stayed close to the Paralympic Movement, becoming great leaders for Para athletes and Para sport, as public speakers and advocates, working in leadership roles at major Games and as broadcasters for CBC/Radio-Canada at the Paralympics. 

Both are important figures for upcoming events, with Dixon Canada’s chef de mission for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games this summer and Huot fulfilling the same role for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

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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