Petitclerc Named Canada's Chef De Mission for the Rio Paralympic Games

By Ewing, Lori | The Canadian Press, September 8, 2014 | Go to article overview

Petitclerc Named Canada's Chef De Mission for the Rio Paralympic Games


Ewing, Lori, The Canadian Press


Petitclerc named chef for Paralympics

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Leading Canada's Paralympic team in Rio will be a little like coming home for Chantal Petitclerc.

The wheelchair racing star was named Canada's chef de mission for the 2016 Paralympics on Monday, two months after she led the Canadian team at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

"This is as special (as Glasgow), but very different because this is my family, this is home. I know the athletes, I've competed with them," Petitclerc said. "It's completely different, it's giving back to my family kind of."

The 44-year-old from Montreal is one of Canada's most decorated athletes of all time, holding world records over three different wheelchair distances. She raced to 21 Paralympic medals, including 14 gold.

Her posting as chef of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games team was the first by a Paralympic athlete for a multi-sport Games. Her hiring, she said, spoke volumes about Canada's support for Paralympic sports.

"(Glasgow) was such a privilege and a great experience and adventure, so it will always have a very, very special place in my heart, my first experience as chef. And just the message that it sent, that a Paralympic athlete can represent any athlete in this country, I think that's pretty amazing," Petitclerc said.

The chef de mission is the team leader and spokesman for Canadian athletes at the Games.

Canadian Paralympic athletes applauded Petitclerc's appointment Monday, exactly two years out from opening of the Games in Rio.

"She's one if the greatest athletes in Canadian history. Knowledge, leadership, confidence, she will bring all those skills to our team," said Benoit Huot, who's won 19 Paralympic medals in swimming, including nine gold. "As a former athlete maybe she has a better understanding of what we live every day, especially on the day that counts. And the fact that she was still competing in 2008, only eight years (from Rio) before, she's still close to being an athlete."

David Eng, a member of Canada's wheelchair basketball team that won gold in 2012 in London, called Petitclerc "the total package. …

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