The 2015 Parapan Am games kicked off in Toronto, Ontario on Friday. This years event will be the largest ever Parapan Am games with over 1,600 athletes from around the Americas. These games are qualifiers for the upcoming paralympics. 15 sports will be contested: archery, athletics, boccia, cycling, five-a-side football, seven-a-side football, goalball, judo, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis Two of our most inspiring speakers were front and centre for the kickoff to the games:
Internationally revered and respected Rick Hansen showed the world that there is no obstacle that cannot be overcome. Rick is a former Paralympic athlete who is helping to build excitement around the Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games. On the games opening day he was out and about Toronto, continuing to advocate for accessibility. Rick helped unveil a new accessible experience at Canada’s most iconic building: The CN Tower. On Friday Rick officially helped launch the accessible wheelchair EdgeWalk for thrill-seekers wanting to experience Toronto at whole new level. The EdgeWalk is an elevated handle-free walkway where individuals are harnessed up and able to lean over the edge to get a whole new view of the city. Rick had the following to say about the launch:
“Creating a thrilling experience like the EdgeWalk, making it accessible to people with visual impairments and now launching the accessible wheelchair EdgeWalk, demonstrates the great steps being taken for people of all abilities to show that anything is possible.”
After that daring endeavour, Rick took part in the games official kickoff at the opening ceremonies where comedian Rick Mercer passed off the flame to him. Rick then carried the flame onward to the official torch bearer, who also happens to be one of our speakers:
A paraplegic from the age of 13, Chantal set about on a mission of success. She tested her limits in her passion for sports. Before long, Chantal was leading wheelchair racing to new levels. Her inspiring presentations focus on determination, perseverance & discipline. Chantal was selected as the one to light the cauldron for the Parapan Am Games opening ceremony, where she was handed off the flame from Rick Hansen, before wheeling up to light the cauldron:
This isn’t Chantal’s only moment in the international spotlight in the coming months. She has been named Canada’s chef de mission for the 2015 Rio Paralympic games. There she will act as a team leader and spokesman for Canadian athletes at the Games. Check out what she had to say on the announcement:
In addition to Rick and Chantal, we have some more great options for audiences looking for Paralympic athletes:
To find out more about how these speakers can inspire your audience to achieve the impossible reach out to us.