Paralympian Danielle Peers enters Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Canadian Paralympic Committee

October 19, 2023

Athlete, trailblazer, advocate fights for disadvantaged


EDMONTON – The multi-talented and erudite Danielle Peers could have pursued any career they wanted after helping Canada to bronze at the 2004 Paralympic Games and gold at the 2006 World Championships in women’s wheelchair basketball.

They chose to continue to dedicate their life to sport.

More specifically, to those who face challenges to integrate in the sports community because of their disability, race, gender, and/or sexual orientation, and others who feel excluded.

Today, they were officially inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

“I believe sports can become something that supports the driving and social values towards equity, towards inclusiveness, towards justice,” said Peers, an associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation at the University of Alberta and the Canada Research Chair in Disability and Movement Cultures.

“Sport has an opportunity that we haven’t fully taken up.”

Peers grew up in a sports family. In fact their brother Marc competed in sailing at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta. But it was basketball that was Danielle’s jam, and they played the standup game for three years before being diagnosed with muscular dystrophy.

Peers was part of a golden period for women’s wheelchair basketball in Canada and as a relatively new participant in the world of Para sport, they couldn’t have had better role models to lay the roots for a later career as an advocate for the disadvantaged in sport.

‘’It’s awkward as an individual to be singled out when you’ve been part of a team,’’ Peers said. ‘’What we’ve accomplished as a team feels really significant. They [her teammates] are extraordinary athletes who deserved to be in this Hall long before I did.

“They really helped me as an athlete and as a person, and formed my relationship to disability and disability sport and equity more broadly.”

Along with their considerable success with the Canadian women’s wheelchair basketball team, Peers went international to compete in the USA Men’s Div. II National Championship team in 2005, where they were named to the tournament’s all-star team, and became the first female MVP of the European Men’s Club Championship in 2006.

‘’I never saw a lot of athletes I can identify with,” they said. ‘’That missing representation of someone that you could imagine your future around is something that’s really motivated me and my own work to be more honest about who I am.’’

‘’There are certainly athletes who were queer and were playing before me, that created space for me.

‘’I just hope that the things I can put into sports now will offer more possibility in the future.”

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