In the media: Canada’s Para athletes praise Performance Recognition Program

Canadian Paralympic Committee

January 29, 2024

“Para sport is equally as professional”

Zak Madell

Canadian Para triathlete and Paralympian Kamylle Frenette says young people with a disability will now be able to look at Paralympic athletes as equals to their Olympian counterparts.

That’s thanks in part to the Canadian Paralympic Committee’s Paralympic Performance Recognition program announced last Wednesday. Since then, Canadian Paralympians have been prevalent in the media from coast to coast commenting on the historic announcement.

“It’s cool we’ll be treated the same way,” Frenette, from Dieppe N.B.,  told Radio-Canada. ‘’This generation is now born with the Paralympic Games and that they are the equivalent of the Olympic Games. I’m really touched by that.’’

In the announcement at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., Paralympians will receive $20,000 for winning gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze starting with the 2024 Paralympic Games in Paris.

That is equal to the amount Canadian Olympians receive.

An initial $8-million endowment through the Paralympic Foundation of Canada is ensuring a sustainable funding model for the program.

“Paralympic athletes dedicate a whole lot of time, same as any athlete,” Para cyclist Matthew Rinnie told CBC News. “It’s equally as professional and people kind of have to sacrifice a lot to get to that.”

Benoit Huot, one of Canada’s most successful athletes with 20 Paralympic medals in Para swimming, says a great injustice has been resolved with the medal rewards.

‘’There’s always been disparities but that was the biggest one,” the now-retired Huot told La Presse. ‘’That reward is more than a cheque that comes for medals. 

‘’It’s a symbol.”

Canadian wheelchair rugby superstar Zak Madell says Canadian athletes will now think twice about retiring from competitive sport. Having veteran presences on national teams as new athletes emerge is crucial to success.

“This is more motivation for us moving forward, not that we weren’t motivated already or training hard,” Madell told Western Wheel. “But having this in the back of the mind might light a fire under a couple of us.

“The fact there is a system in place to ensure that moving forward the medallists will be well rewarded is pretty exciting.”

Canada joins France, the United States, and Australia as countries offering rewards for medals at the Paralympics.

In an interview broadcast on CBC’s main network on Saturday, Paralympic Games champion Nate Riech paid tribute to past Para athletes who have paved the way for this new chapter in the Canadian Paralympic Movement.

‘’I think of the Paralympians before our generation,” said the middle distance runner who holds the world record in the 1500m. ‘’It’s meant so much for us and it’s cool to have a sense we’re doing a little something for the next generation of Paralympic athletes.”

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