Canadian Paralympic Committee
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Labonté named flagbearer for Canada at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony

March 8, 2010

“Jean
has demonstrated throughout his career the determination, athletic excellence,
and strong character that embodies the Paralympic spirit,” said Blair McIntosh,
chef de mission, Team Canada.
“Jean is a most deserving athlete to not only captain our sledge hockey team
but to also lead our entire Canadian delegation into B.C. Place for the first
Paralympic Winter Games on home soil.”

The
native of Gatineau,
Québec has competed in three previous Paralympic Winter Games, earning a gold
medal in 2006 and silver in 1998. Labonté is one of the most decorated and
admired athletes in the sport, having played in five International Paralympic
Committee (IPC) Sledge Hockey World Championships, taking the gold
medal in 2000 and 2008, and bronze in 1996 and 2009.

The
veteran defenceman demonstrates great leadership both on and off the ice. Labonté is
an outstanding ambassador for sledge hockey and for the Paralympic movement.  He has worked tirelessly to promote Paralympic
sport across Canada,
educating Canadians about sport for athletes with a disability, and encouraging
young and old to participate and take advantage of sporting and volunteering
opportunities in their communities.

“When
the eyes of the world focus on B.C. Place for the opening ceremony of the
Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games – the first to be hosted in Canada, they
will witness an historic moment in Canadian sport,” said Carla Qualtrough,
president, CPC. “The profile of Paralympic sport has reached new heights and
our flag bearer, Jean Labonté, has helped lead the way. It is a tremendous
honour to carry the flag for your country. Jean, like all of our Paralympic
athletes, is about to make Canada
very proud.”

PAST FLAG BEARERS

Games                                            Opening
Flag Bearer                   Closing Flag
Bearer

2006 –
Turin, Italy                            Todd
Nicholson                      Colette Bourgonje

                                                        (Sledge
hockey)                     (Para-Nordic)

2002 –
Salt Lake City, USA             Mark
Ludbrook                       Brian and Robin McKeever

                                                        (Para-Alpine)                          (Para-Nordic)

1998 – Nagano, Japan                    Bill Harriott                             Colette Bourgonje

                                                        (Para-Alpine)                          (Para-Nordic)

1994 – Lillehammer, Norway Lou Mulvihill                           Lana
Spreeman

                                                        (Sledge
Hockey)                    (Para-Alpine)

1992 – Tignes-Albertville,
France   Phil Chew

                                                        (Para-Alpine)

 

The Opening Ceremony of the
10th Paralympic Winter Games is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT on Friday, March
12, 2010 at B.C. Place in Vancouver.