OTTAWA – Canadian Para alpine skier Erin Latimer couldn’t have asked for a better conclusion to her competitive career than the Team Canada Celebration for the nation’s 2018 Olympic and Paralympic athletes on Wednesday at Rideau Hall and Parliament Hill.
The 21-year-old Latimer recently announced she is now becoming a full time university student.
‘’I’m very sure about my decision,’’ said Latimer, a two-time Paralympian, who posted four top-10 finishes at the Games in PyeongChang. ‘’After 2014 I knew I wanted to do four more years, put everything I had into it, then hang the skis up.’’
Latimer followed her game plan in sport and will continue to follow it in life as well. She will enter the University of Toronto full time this fall to study social sciences with a goal to major in employment relations.
‘’It’s really special to have an event like the Team Canada Celebration,’’ said Latimer, born missing her right arm below the elbow. ‘’I feel fortunate that I could retire then come here and say goodbye to everyone especially to all my teammates in all the sports in PyeongChang.’’
Canada earned a record-breaking number of medals for a winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in PyeongChang: our athletes brought home 29 Olympic medals, and Canada’s Paralympic team came back with 28.
Governor General Julie Payette kicked off the tributes to the Olympians and Paralympians.
‘’A lot of your work leading up to your extraordinary performances in PyeongChang was often done in the shadows. Much like the work of astronauts,’’ said Payette, who flew on two Space Shuttle missions. ‘’And then when it was time to perform, there was no turning back. With the Maple Leaf on your uniform you put every effort, every moment of your training into your performance.
‘’We are so very proud of you.’’
The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities says these past Winter Games will leave a legacy.
‘’Your performances in PyeongChang will stay with me and Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast for a lifetime,’’ she said. ‘’ So many memories were made and you inspired the next generation of athletes.’’
The Canadian team flag bearers from both the Opening and Closing Ceremonies at the Olympic and Paralympic Games were also honored with the 2018 James Worrall Flag Bearer Award presented by Petro-Canada.
Paralympic flag bearers in PyeongChang were triple gold medallist Para nordic skier Brian McKeever for the Opening Ceremony and six-time Para nordic medallist Mark Arendz for the Closing Ceremony.
Athletes and coaches also received their official Olympic and Paralympic rings presented by Teck, a commemorative ring on behalf of all Canadians.