Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Decorated Paralympians Michelle Stilwell and Benoit Huot Race to Parapan Am Gold

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Decorated Paralympians Michelle Stilwell and Benoit Huot Race to Parapan Am Gold

Article excerpt

Huot and Stilwell capture Parapan Am gold


TORONTO - Veteran Canadian Paralympians Michelle Stilwell and Benoit Huot added Parapan Am gold to their already glittering medal collections on Tuesday.

Wheelchair racer Stilwell won the 100-metre T52 race while star swimmer Hout led a Canadian sweep in the men's 400-metre freestyle S10 class.

The two are among Canada's most decorated para-athletes.

At the 2000 Paralympics in Sydney, Stilwell was part of Canada's gold-medal winning wheelchair basketball team. Eight years later in Beijing, she won gold in both the 100- and 200-metre wheelchair races. She defended her 200 gold medal in London in 2012 but settled for silver in the 100. She's also a three-time world champion.

Huot has nine Paralympic gold medals along with five silver and five bronze.

The native of Longueuil, Que., who has a club foot, edged teammates Isaac Bouckley of Oshawa, Ont., and Alexander Elliot of Waterloo, Ont., on Tuesday. The gold could be the first of several medals for Huot, who won six at the 2007 Parapans in Brazil.

"I was excited to race," he said. "The first three days were beginning to feel like a long wait."

Fellow Canadian swimmers Katarina Roxon of Kippens, N.L. (women's 100 breaststroke SB8) and Aurelie Rivard, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., (women's 400 freestyle S10) also captured gold to continue Canada's medal haul in the pool.

"I could hear the crowd cheering the last 25 metres," said Roxon. "I just wanted to get to the wall quicker and do it for Canada."

Jonathan Dieleman, the former rodeo rider who broke his back in a dirt-bike accident, earned a silver medal competing in his first major international competition. He was left frustrated by his time of 55.68 seconds in the S3 50 breaststroke.

"I was way faster this morning," said the Vancouver resident, who swam a Parapan record time of 54.57 seconds during the morning heats. "About three quarters of the way down the pool I screwed up on one of my strokes and swallowed a bunch of water. I just couldn't catch up."

Montreal's Jean-Michelle Lavalliere had some anxious moments in the S7 200 individual medley. He finished second in 2:49.12 but it was announced he was disqualified for a non-simultaneous touch. That was later overruled and he was awarded his second silver of the meet.

"I was really happy, then a bit down, then happy again," said the 24-year-old who has cerebral palsy.

Canada picked up a silver and bronze in the S7-8 200 individual medley. Tess Routliffe, of Caledon, Ont., was second in 3:07.23 while Camille Berube, of Gatineau, Que., was third in 3:07.36

Zach Zona, of Waterford, Ont., was third in the S8 200 individual medley in 2:44.76 and Nicolas Turbide, of Quebec City, earned his third medal of the Games when he finished second in the S13 50 freestyle.

Stilwell, a cabinet minister in B. …

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