B.C. Paralympians and Team Canada celebrating PyeongChang 2018

Mar 20, 2018

British Columbia’s Paralympic athletes are celebrating 16 medals from the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

“Like all British Columbians, I am so proud of our athletes who competed at the Paralympics in PyeongChang,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “These Games have been an amazing achievement for competitors and our sport development programs. I was thrilled to see so many of Team Canada’s Paralympians were B.C.-based. Our government supports a strong sport system that enables our athletes to pursue their goals and dreams – and these results demonstrate its success. Congratulations to athletes, coaches and everyone who contributed!”

Of Team Canada’s 55 Paralympians, 43.6 % (24) have a B.C. connection – double B.C.’s representation on the Paralympic team at Sochi 2014. This includes athletes who call B.C. home, as well as those from outside of B.C. who train in the province with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific or regional alliance partners.

“It has been a spectacular Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang for Team Canada, bringing home a record number of medals,” said Wendy Pattenden, CEO, Canadian Sport Institute Pacific. “These inspirational athletes have proven themselves on the world’s biggest stage, and it’s our privilege to work with so many of them and their national sport organizations. It is with the support of our strong provincial sport system that they are able to show the world what they are capable of.”

British Columbia-connected athletes earned 57% of the Canadian Paralympic Team’s total medal count, including four gold, three silver and nine bronze medals. Team Canada won 28 medals overall.

Athletes connected to British Columbia who earned medals at the games include:

  • Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.) with Guide Jack Leitch: Alpine Downhill, Visually Impaired – Gold; Alpine Giant Slalom Visually Impaired – Bronze
  • Kurt Oatway (Calgary, Alta.): Alpine Super-G Sitting – Gold
  • Mollie Jepsen (North Vancouver): Alpine Super Combined Standing – Gold; Alpine Downhill, Standing – Bronze; Alpine Giant Slalom Standing – Bronze; Alpine Slalom, Standing – Silver
  • Alana Ramsay (Calgary, Alta.): Alpine Super-G, Standing – Bronze; Alpine Super Combined Standing – Bronze
  • Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, Que.): Alpine Giant Slalom Standing – Bronze
  • Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm): Cross-Country Skiing, 1.5km Sprint Classic Standing – Bronze; Cross-Country Skiing, 7.5km Standing – Gold;  Cross-Country Skiing, 4×2.5km Mixed Relay – Silver
  • Emily Young (North Vancouver): Cross-Country Skiing 7.5km Standing – Bronze; Cross-Country Skiing 4×2.5km Mixed Relay – Silver
  • Ina Forrest (Armstrong): Wheelchair Curling – Bronze
  • Greg Westlake (West Vancouver) and James Gemmell (Quesnel): Ice Sledge Hockey – Silver

Each year, the B.C. government invests more than $50 million in sport funding. This includes more than $1.6 million in annual support to the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific, and over $800,000 in 2017-18, through viaSport, for sport organizations for athletes with a disability.

The ministry also funds other provincial sport organizations that provide programs for athletes with a disability. Funding for provincial sport organizations helps to develop athletes and coaches to progress from provincial to national teams and competitions.

“B.C. Paralympians competing in PyeongChang have done exceptionally well and are an inspiration for future generations,” said viaSport CEO Sheila Bouman. “With investment from the provincial government and through innovative partnerships, viaSport is continuing to champion positive changes so that all persons with disabilities have equal opportunity to develop and realize their potential through sport.”

The 2018 Paralympic Winter Games took place from March 9-18 in PyeongChang, South Korea, bringing 670 athletes together from around the globe to participate in 80 medal events, including Alpine Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey and Wheelchair Curling.

Quick Facts:

  • Twenty-four Paralympic athletes have a British Columbia connection. This includes athletes from outside B.C. who train in the province with the Canadian Sport Institute Pacific or regional alliance partners.
  • Of that number, 10 athletes list their hometown/birthplace in B.C.
  • British Columbia-connected Paralympians have direct connections to nine communities in B.C., including Armstrong, Duncan, Pemberton, Quesnel, Salmon Arm, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and Victoria.
  • Of the 24 B.C.-connected Paralympians, six are BC Games alumni and four also competed for Team BC at the Canada Games.
  • British Columbia-connected Paralympians participated in five sports, including Alpine Skiing, Ice Sledge Hockey, Wheelchair Curling, Cross-Country Skiing and Snowboard.
  • From the Sochi 2014 Winter Games, Team Canada Paralympic athletes brought home seven Gold, two Silver and seven Bronze medals.