Vancouver – Paralympic Opening Ceremony

About 5,000 people will participate in tonight’s Opening Ceremony and it is sold-out! You will be able to watch it on ParalympicSport.tv

At tonight’s 2010 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony in Vancouver, sledge hockey captain Jean Labonte will carry Canada’s flag; he’s a 40-year-old native of Gatineau, Que. who has completed in three previous Paralympic Winter Games, earning a gold medal in 2006 and silver in 1998.

Labonte said he hopes the legacy of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics will be to spur the growth of the Paralympics movement, disabled sports and the increased participation of disabled people in society generally.

“It’s not that because you have a disability that you cannot perform or do great things in life — and I’m not talking about only sports. It doesn’t stop anyone from doing anything.”

He praised VanOC for promoting the Paralympics, which other past cities have not really done a good job with, especially Athens, where the medical center didn’t even have electricity hooked up during the 2004 Summer Paralympics there! Hopefully it raises the bar for how the Paralympics are treated during the next Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014.

Labonte, who had never played ice hockey as a youth said the sport wasn’t part of his family’s activities, but when he got bone cancer, then after losing his leg, he found this great sport – sledge hockey.

He’s proud that he represents his country, and we can share the pride of all the athletes who have worked SO hard to get to these Games.

Let the Games begin!

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