In 2013, Montreal hosted the World Para Swimming Championships while the Para athletics worlds were held in France, in what were billed as the two biggest Para sport events since the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Held at Parc Jean-Drapeau in Montreal, 530 athletes from 57 countries competed at the Para swimming worlds, a significant Para sport event to be held on Canadian soil. A whopping 43 world records were lowered, and Ukraine continued its surge in the sport dominating the medal count with 84 trips to the podium. Two S3 swimmers Dmytro Vynohradets and Olga Sviderska collected seven gold medals apiece for the Ukrainians.
The host Canadian team, with many familiar faces from the 2012 squad, matched it 16 medal intake from London a year earlier.
The star performer for Canada was local athlete Valérie Grand’Maison who collected three gold medals in the S13 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly. The visually impaired swimmer added a silver in the 200m individual medley.
Grand’Maison would call it career after those championships. She competed at two Paralympic Games and earned four gold, four silver and a bronze. After the worlds she pursued her education earning a Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy and currently works as a research assistant at the Centre for the Study of Legal and Social Responses to Violence.
Benoit Huot and Brianna Nelson were Canada’s other champions at the event. One of the biggest highlights of the meet for Canada was a surprise silver in the women’s 4x100m freestyle relay with Aurélie Rivard, Morgan Bird, Katarina Roxon and Nelson.
Big improvement for Canada in Para athletics
Just a couple of weeks before the Para swimming worlds, Canada sparkled at the IPC World Para Athletics Championships held in Lyon, France with 1,100 athletes from 94 countries registered.
The Canadians improved on their performances from both the 2012 Games and 2011 worlds earning 15 medals and climbing to 11th from 17th in the world championships medal standings.
Wheelchair racer Brent Lakatos was one of the most successful competitors at the event collecting four gold medals and a silver which was the best international performance of his career up to that point.
Another wheelchair racer Michelle Stilwell continued her rampage on the international scene with three gold including a world record performance in the 800m.
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.