Be a shining light in 2010! Canadians invited to apply as
torchbearers for Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay
Ontario amputee runner among first torchbearers named
Vancouver, BC, November 27, 2009 With just
over 100 days to go until the start of the Paralympic Winter
Games, Canadians who dream of carrying the Paralympic Flame
as part of the historic Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay
- a 10-day inspirational journey starting on March 3, 2010
that celebrates the endless possibilities of the human spirit
and the world's top winter Paralympians - are invited to apply
today as torchbearers at www.YouGottaBeHere.ca.
Positions are available through the public torchbearer application
program, operated by the Province of British Columbia, which
is open to all Canadian residents who are aged 13 or older
by March 3, 2010. The Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay
is presented by Coca-Cola and RBC and supported by the Government
of Canada and the Province of British Columbia.
"As the provincial host of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic
Winter Games, British Columbia wants to welcome all Canadians
to apply today for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to proudly
carry the Paralympic Flame," said Mary McNeil, Minister
of State for the Olympics and ActNow BC. "We're looking
for everyday people who embody the Paralympic values of courage,
determination, inspiration, and equality in their everyday
life - much like the world's best winter Paralympians."
All applicants will need to describe why they want to be
a torchbearer and how they embody the Paralympic values in
their everyday life. Each torchbearer selected must also have
transportation to and from their assigned torchbearer location.
Applications will be accepted at www.YouGottaBeHere.ca
until 11:59 pm (Pacific Time) on January 6, 2010.
An Ontario amputee runner who has beaten the odds - and three
world records in just six months - will share his inspirational
story with the world as one of the first torchbearers to carry
the Paralympic Flame in the relay, the Vancouver Organizing
Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
(VANOC) also announced today.
Rick Ball, 44, of Orillia, ON, who runs using a curved prosthetic
shaped like a bent ski, will help to start the relay on March
3, 2010 at the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa, ON. The Paralympic
Flame - which has no ancestral home - will spring to life
in a special Aboriginal-themed lighting ceremony with a uniquely
Canadian flair on Parliament Hill. All 10 provinces and three
territories will each name a torchbearer to participate in
this Aboriginal-themed ceremony.
"To carry the Paralympic Flame is an incredible honour,
especially when I think about how this will be the same light
at the end of the relay that welcomes all of the world's great
winter Paralympians to reach their dreams here in Canada in
2010," said Ball, a father of two who hopes to compete
at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.
"When I took up competitive running two years ago I
never dreamed I could be a part of something like this. I
know it's often said that dreams can come true if you work
hard, but these athletes . . . they're living proof of this,"
The Paralympic Flame will visit community celebration sites
in Ottawa, ON (March 3), Quebec City (March 4) and Toronto
(March 5), as well as Victoria and Esquimalt (March 6), Squamish
(March 7), Whistler (March 8), Lytton and Hope (March 9),
Maple Ridge (March 10), and Vancouver (March 10, 11 and 12)
in British Columbia.
On March 11, 2010, the relay will turn into a 24-hour event
through Vancouver's downtown core surrounding Robson Square
as part of a day-long celebration of culture and sport counting
down the final moments until the magical Opening Ceremony
of the Games in front of tens of thousands at BC Place.
"This 24-hour celebration in downtown Vancouver is a
great way to welcome the world's best Paralympians to our
country for the first time and show the world that we're ready
and excited to host the Games," said the Honourable Gary
Lunn, Minister of State (Sport) for the Government of Canada.
"We can hardly wait to see our proud Canadian Paralympians
triumph here at home in Whistler and in Vancouver."
"The schedule for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch
Relay has also been finalized, and we're proud to announce
that Toronto is joining the list of 11 celebration communities
previously announced as part of the 10-day relay," Minister
of State Lunn continued. "Canadians in our country's
largest city will have an opportunity to cheer on the flame
on March 5, 2010."
During the relay, an estimated 600 torchbearers will carry
the flame in the curved steel blue torch, designed and manufactured
by Bombardier, while wearing their matching blue official
keepsake torchbearer uniform, produced by the Hudson's Bay
In addition to the public torchbearer contest, other worthy
members of the public will be selected by VANOC, the Government
of Canada, Coca-Cola, RBC, the Canadian Paralympic Committee
(CPC), and the Canadian Forces' Soldier On program.
Today, Coca-Cola also named Anne Bethune as its first Paralympic
Torchbearer. Bethune is president of the Vancouver Adaptive
Snow Sports (VASS) and has been involved with the Disabled
Skiers Association for more than 20 years.
"As a presenting partner of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic
Torch Relay, Coca-Cola is delighted to announce Anne Bethune
today as our first torchbearer," said Nicola Kettlitz,
general manager, Coca-Cola Olympic Project Team. "Our
goal is to bring the Paralympic values to life in communities
across the country and to encourage Canadians to make a lifelong
commitment to live these values, while living more active,
sustainable lives. Just like Anne, we strive to live these
values in our everyday lives and hope to inspire others to
live them, as well."
For its first Paralympic Torchbearer, RBC selected Al Etmanski,
an author and co-founder of Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network
(PLAN), which was instrumental in advocating for the new Registered
Disability Savings Plan and assists families across Canada
and globally in addressing the financial and social well-being
of relatives with a disability.
Graham MacLachlan, regional president, RBC, British Columbia,
said: "Al Etmanski has long demonstrated his commitment
to helping people with disabilities and their families succeed
through his work as an advocate and social entrepreneur. RBC
is proud to select him as our first Paralympic Torchbearer
on this historic relay."
"Each and every one of the 600 torchbearers on this
relay will be individual sparks adding to the brightness of
the Paralympic Flame as it travels towards Vancouver,"
said John Furlong, VANOC's Chief Executive Officer. "We
encourage all Canadians and people from around the world to
follow the flame's path and join us in a celebration of the
remarkable achievements of Paralympic athletes and of all
that is possible if you dare to dream."
In March 2010, approximately 1,000 athletes and officials
from more than 40 countries will take part in five sports
(alpine and cross-country skiing, ice sledge hockey, wheelchair
curling and biathlon) at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter
Games in Vancouver and Whistler. The big international sporting
event comes just 12 days after the region hosts the Olympic
Tickets for all Paralympic events, including such high demand
sessions as the Opening Ceremony, alpine skiing and ice sledge
hockey, can be purchased at www.vancouver2010.com,
in person at Main Ticket Centres in Vancouver and Whistler
or over the phone at 1.800.TICKETS or 604.629.7140 TDD/TTY,
as part of Phase 3 of ticket sales for the Games.
For more information on the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Torch
Relay, visit www.vancouver2010.com/torchrelay.
About the Government of Canada
The Government of Canada is proud to make 2010 a celebration
for all Canadians. Through strategic investments in programming
and funding, the spirit and excitement will be felt far and
wide and leave lasting legacies for future generations. Through
the Olympic Torch Relay and Paralympic Torch Relay, the Government
of Canada is supporting citizen and community participation,
as well as the inclusion of Aboriginal, ethnocultural and
official language communities. For more information on the
Government of Canada's contribution to the Vancouver 2010
Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit www.Canada2010.gc.ca.
About the Government of British Columbia
The Government of British Columbia is the proud Host Province
for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Paralympic
Torch Relay represents a significant opportunity to create
understanding and awareness about people with disabilities
and the Paralympic Movement. Through the Paralympic Torch
Relay, the Government of British Columbia is promoting healthy
communities, healthy lifestyles and individual excellence.
For more information on British Columbia's contribution to
the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, visit
About Coca-Cola and the Olympic and
The Coca-Cola Company has been associated with the Olympic
Games since 1928 and is the longest continuous corporate supporter
of the Olympic Movement. Through the Olympic and Paralympic
Games, Coca-Cola encourages people to create their own path
of "positivity" in everyday life by believing that
anything is possible. The Coca-Cola Company is the exclusive
non-alcoholic beverage provider to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic
and Paralympic Winter Games. For more information about Coca-Cola
Canada, please visit our website at www.cocacola.ca
or our parent company's website at www.thecoca-colacompany.com.
As part of our commitment to help create a better Canada,
RBC sponsors amateur sport, from grassroots programs in local
communities to national sport associations that support the
development of amateur athletes who compete at home and abroad.
As a long standing supporter of the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic
Teams, RBC continues its sponsorship through the Vancouver
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games and is proud to help
showcase Olympic and Paralympic sport as presenting partner
of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Torch Relays.
RBC is also a premier sponsor of Hockey Canada, the Canadian
Snowboard Team, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, Athletics
Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Visit www.rbc.com/sponsorship.
VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing
and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic
Winter Games in 2010. The 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be
staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010.
Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games
from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.
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