The Canadian Paralympic Team is sending 55 athletes to PyeongChang, and nearly half of them have a connection to British Columbia.
There will be 24 athletes affiliated with B.C. including Mel Pemble, who started her journey at the 2014 BC Winter Games and went on to compete at the 2015 Canada Winter Games. After first being nominated to the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Development Team at age 16, Pemble has been training at the Canadian Sport School in Victoria in both para-alpine and para-cycling. She also hopes to compete at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
“It is an exciting time to be a British Columbian athlete,” says Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “So many of our athletes have been given the opportunity to follow their dreams of competing at the highest level, on the world stage. We wish our Paralympians the best of luck – and will be cheering them on – as they represent us in PyeongChang.”
Following the 2015 Canada Games in Prince George, the Province of B.C. announced the Northern Sport Accessibility Initiative, a three-year pilot project to expand access to sport and recreation for people with disabilities living in Northern B.C. This year three of B.C.’s Paralympians also competed at the 2015 Canada Games including Ethan Hess, Emily Young and Pemble.
“These athletes are true inspirations for all Canadians, each with their own incredible story of perseverance and dedication,” said Canadian Sport Institute Pacific CEO Wendy Pattenden. “We are privileged to work with them and are sure they will continue the terrific success that Team Canada had in February in PyeongChang.”
Of British Columbia’s 24 athletes, 22 of them benefitted from CSI Pacific and/or PacificSport services in the past year. CSI will also be sending a strength and conditioning coach to the Games to work with the Para-Alpine team.
Some of these athletes may also make their way into the BC Sports Hall of Fame, like B.C. Paralympic silver and gold medalist Josh Dueck, who is being inducted later this year.