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Olympians and Paralympians Honoured in House of Commons and Meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

release by the COC / pedalmag.com
 ©  Greg Kolz/COC
November 11, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The Government of Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Committees, today hosted more than 250 Canadian athletes and coaches in Ottawa and Gatineau to celebrate their achievements at the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The day kicked off with sport fairs at the University of Ottawa and the Centre sportif de Gatineau, where Olympians and Paralympians engaged local elementary school students in various sport activities to encourage physical activity and sport participation. The morning also included Facebook Live sessions with athletes and students from across Canada.

Rio 2016 Team Canada gold medalists with PM Justin Trudeau and The Honourable Carla Qualtrough - paracyclist Tristen Chernove is far right with arm raised.  ©  Greg Kolz/COC
The athletes and coaches then attended a luncheon hosted by the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, where they received their Olympic and Paralympic rings, presented by Teck and Hillberg & Berk. Petro Canada representatives also made a special presentation of the James Worrall Flag Bearer Awards to Rosie MacLennan, David Eng and Penny Oleksiak (Aurélie Rivard was unable to attend the event).

 ©  Greg Kolz/COC
Finally, the athletes and coaches were welcomed into the House of Commons to be honoured by all members of Parliament, who represent all Canadians across the country. The House rose in extended applause as each athlete paraded across the floor, an honour reserved for only very special guests.

Women's team pursuit (l-r) Glaesser, Beveridge, Simmerling, Lay, Brown  ©  Laura Robinson

Pedal’s Laura Robinson was on site and caught up with the Canadian Women’s Team Pursuit squad including Georgia Simmerling, Kirsti Lay, Alison Beveridge, Laura Brown and Jasmine Glaesser. “Being on the [Olympic] podium was the best feeling of my life. Getting together again here with everyone is fantastic. I’m headed to Europe with the ski cross national team again to prepare for 2018 so great to be here today with my teammates,” commented Simmerling.

“I never imagined I would be on the podium for this sport, a summer sport, but you never know what doors will open. I’m very grateful to my teammates and it’s wonderful to be here today with them. I start training on the road with the Rally Team in January. We’ve taken a breather from the track for now, but looking forward to the 2017 season,” said Lay.

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau  ©  Laura Robinson
“I was just finishing in the Juniors when London 2012 happened and my goal became the pursuit team for Rio. If you’re there, you’re there for a medal, it’s hard work but a privilege. These girls are fabulous. I don’t think we’ll ever lose touch,” commented Beveridge.

“After London 2012 (as an alternate for the Women’s Team Pursuit) I was upset but bounced back – I was really motivated after that. Wow, just hearing you talk about being on the podium, for me, gives me goose bumps. I wouldn’t be here today if I did it for the results, but yet I’m results driven… it’s much more about getting there, the process. Still when you win an Olympic medal, it’s pretty cool,” shared Brown.

Jasmin Glaesser with MP Cheryl Hardcastle, NDP Critic for Sport  ©  Laura Robinson
“This is a fresh and exciting team. Our London 2012 bronze medal may have been a bit of a surprise for others, but I came into Rio focused and experienced. It was like it was an extra challenge. There’s a reason for everything we do. We have new and very talented athletes and I wanted to help them reach their potential. It’s fun to be here but just now I’m really focused on my wedding in December. My boyfriend is an American rider and we’re living in Canada,” Glaesser told Pedal.

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities  ©  Laura Robinson
“On behalf of all Canadians, the Government of Canada is proud to host our Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and their coaches to celebrate their accomplishments this past summer. The performances of every member of Team Canada made us proud, and now we have the chance to thank them and celebrate the impact they have in inspiring all Canadians, especially our young people, to enjoy the benefits of sport and recreation activities,” said The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities.

 ©  Greg Kolz/COC
 “It has been a blast getting to celebrate Canada’s achievements with so many Canadian fans and supporters today. The majority of the time we compete and train in a bubble away from the bright lights and cheers of the Games, so getting to come out here and connect with our fellow Canadians who have been behind us the whole way really is the cherry on top of everything. Thank you to Teck for the beautiful rings and thank you to everyone who has supported Team Canada,” commented Derek Drouin, two-time Olympian, two-time Olympic medallist (gold and bronze), Athletics.

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau  ©  Laura Robinson
“It’s been so rewarding to be here today with my teammates to share our success and experiences with kids and parliamentarians. An athlete’s success is only made possible thanks to the support of our coaches, community and country, and today was a perfect mix of all those. Thank you to the Government of Canada for supporting Canadian athletes and making today’s events possible,” said Katarina Roxon, three-time Paralympian, Paralympic gold medallist, Swimming.

 ©  Greg Kolz/COC
“Rio 2016 was Canada’s best-ever performance, thanks to the hard work and dedication of our country’s Olympians who showed us what being Canadian is all about. Congratulations on such an outstanding Games. Thank you to all the students and the Government of Canada for helping our country’s athletes celebrate their Rio success in such style,” commented Tricia Smith, President, Canadian Olympic Committee.

 ©  Greg Kolz/COC
“To all our athletes and coaches, congratulations and well done. Team Canada’s athletes are outstanding role models for all Canadians. Our thanks to the Government of Canada for today’s fantastic celebration events and the opportunity to help our athletes connect with schoolchildren and inspire the next generation of champions,” added Gaétan Tardif, President, Canadian Paralympic Committee.

Team Canada with PM Justin Trudeau and and The Honourable Carla Qualtrough. Tristen Chernove is far right.  ©  Greg Kolz/COC
Quick Facts

The Team Canada Rio 2016 Athlete Celebration included:

– 141 Olympic athletes, including 22 medallists, as well as 30 coaches; and
– 75 Paralympic athletes, including 17 medallists, 10 competition assistants and guides, 12 coaches and 4 service animals.
– At the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Team Canada won 22 medals (4 gold, 3 silver, 15 bronze), matching our country’s best-ever performance at a non-boycotted summer Games, from Atlanta in 1996.
– At the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Team Canada finished with 29 medals (8 gold, 10 silver, 11 bronze) to rank 14th among nations in the total medal count, surpassing the team’s performance goal of top 16.

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