April 08, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – Swimmer Aurélie Rivard of St-Jean-sur Richelieu, Que., and paracyclist Tristen Chernove of Cranbrook, B.C., were big winners on Friday night at the 2017 Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame and Sport Awards ceremony held at the Infinity Centre in Ottawa.
Rivard was chosen as Canada’s flag-bearer for the Closing Ceremony, named Swimming Canada’s and Swimming Word Magazine’s Female Para swimmer of the Year and was amongst the finalists for the Lou Marsh Award for Canada’s athlete of the year.
Chernove received the award for Best Games Debut. He spearheaded a record nine-medal performance for Canada’s Para cycling team in Rio. He took gold in the time trial road race, silver in the individual pursuit and bronze in the 1000-m time trial.
Finally, Maxime Gagnon of Montreal received the Development Coach of the Year Award. Gagnon is the Quebec provincial team head coach and director general of Hockey sur luge Montreal. Gagnon is credited with growing the popularity of Para ice hockey (formerly known as sledge hockey) significantly in the city of Montreal and province of Quebec.
Five inductees into Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame
The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with a Disability, headlined a group of five individuals inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame.
Qualtrough, from Delta, B.C., was inducted in the builder category with Archie Allison of Toronto, Ont. and Maureen Orchard of Winnipeg, Man. Named in the coach category was Ozzie Sawicki of Cochrane, Alta., and in the athlete category Karolina Wisniewska of Calgary, Alta.
Qualtrough, a triple Paralympic medallist in swimming, was a key player in Vancouver’s bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games – as president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. As a lawyer, she was a powerful advocate for worker’s compensation and human rights before moving into the political circuit.
Wisniewska is a three-time Paralympian and winner of eight Paralympic medals in Para alpine skiing. She won two silver medals at Nagano in 1998, two silver and two bronze medals in Salt Lake City in 2002 and two bronze at Vancouver 2010.
Sawicki was head coach of the Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team which won 12 of the total 15 medals earned by Team Canada at the 2002 Paralympic Winter Games. In 2014, he was Team Canada’s Chef de Mission in Sochi where Canada ranked third in the gold medal count — with seven gold, two silver, and seven bronze.
Orchard revolutionized the sport of wheelchair basketball at home and abroad. She brings more than 30 years of experience and dedication to the sport. She is currently the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) secretary general.
Allison is a legendary figure at Toronto’s Variety Village, a centre that helps people with a disability develop a healthy lifestyle through sports, fitness and physical activity.