Shelley Gautier and Rob Shaw named Canada’s Parapan Am Games Opening Ceremony flag bearers

Canadian Paralympic Committee

November 15, 2023

Para cycling and wheelchair tennis Paralympians to lead Canada into Santiago 2023


SANTIAGO – Para cyclist Shelley Gautier (Niagara Falls, Ont.) and wheelchair tennis player Rob Shaw (North Bay, Ont.) will lead Canada into the Santiago 2023 Parapan Am Games as the team’s Opening Ceremony flag bearers, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced Wednesday.

An 18-time world champion dating back to 2009, Gautier continues to be one of the best Para cyclists in the world. She recently won two bronze medals at the cycling world championships this summer, finishing third in both the T1 road race and time trial.

This will be her third Parapan Am Games, after Guadalajara 2011 and Toronto 2015. She holds two Parapan Am silver medals. The 55-year-old is a three-time Paralympian (2012, 2016, 2020) with a bronze medal from Rio 2016.

“I am very happy to lead Team Canada into competition in Chile,” said Gautier. “In past Parapan Am Games in Mexico and Toronto, I won silver medals. As flag bearer, I will try to make the podium again and will encourage and inspire everyone on the Canadian team to do well and enjoy being at the Games.”

Shaw has been Canada’s leading wheelchair tennis player for more than half a decade. Currently ranked singles world No. 9 in the quad division (with a career high of No. 6), he is the defending Parapan Am gold medallist, taking home the title at the Lima Games four years ago. The 33-year-old, who now lives in Kelowna, B.C., was the first Canadian tennis player – standing or wheelchair – to win a medal in singles at a multi-sport Games.

He owns 22 International Tennis Federation (ITF) singles and 22 ITF doubles titles in his career, and made his Paralympic Games debut at Tokyo 2020.

“Still in a bit of shock after finding out I would be one of Canada’s flag bearers,” said Shaw. “It’s one of the greatest honours an athlete can be given and something you never think will happen to you. I can’t wait to mingle with all the incredible athletes, support them in their disciplines, and lead them into that arena as one unified team. It’s going to be an unforgettable experience.” 

Gautier will race in the Para road cycling competition on November 19 and 26 in Santiago, while Shaw’s title defense begins November 21 following a first-round bye. He will also team up with Mitch McIntyre in the quad doubles draw.

“We are just so thrilled to have Shelley and Rob represent Canada as flag bearers for the Opening Ceremony,” said Karolina Wisniewska, co-chef de mission, Santiago 2023 Canadian Parapan Am Team. “They are such accomplished individuals, with Shelley’s longstanding success in Para cycling to Rob making his mark in Canadian tennis. This is a well-deserved honour for them both, and I can’t wait to march behind them to open the Games.”   

“Shelley and Rob are both incredible athletes with great track records on and off the field of play, and we’re so honoured to have them lead the team into the stadium,” said Josh Vander Vies, co-chef de mission. “With Paralympic and Parapan Am experience, as well as plenty of success on their respective international circuits, their standout performances speak for themselves. Combined with their leadership and passion for growing their sports, they are remarkable ambassadors for Para sport. We are proud to call them Canada’s flag bearers.”

Canada is represented by 140 athletes at the Parapan Am Games, competing in 14 sports. The Games run November 17-26.

Can Crew Newsletter

Receive the latest news, athlete stories, and behind-the-scenes access directly to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields