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Home » Tag Archives: Paralympics

Tag Archives: Paralympics

RioReady and the Olympic Spirit Project


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The Olympic Spirit ProjectThe closer we get to the Rio 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremonies, the more people are asking whether I’m going to be making the trip to Brazil. After an epic adventure with the Olympic Spirit Project at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, it’s really hard for me not to get on a plane to Rio in a couple of weeks, but sadly, the answer is no, I’m not going.

As much as every bone in my body wants to be there, I’ve made the choice to cheer for my first Olympic Games since becoming officially Canadian from my home country in Victoria, BC. The Olympic Spirit Project will take a little twist for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games this summer, and it will be based at Bear Mountain Resort’s RioReady Fan Zone.

Mariska RIchters at the Whistler 2010 Olympic Rings

Why Bear Mountain? Because I live there! And because the resort is the official training centre for 3 of our Canadian Olympic Teams: Mountain Biking, Golf, and Tennis, which makes it a perfect location to get that Olympic energy I’m always looking for. Victoria is actually the training headquarters for eight national sports teams, so I figure, if I’m going to be watching the Rio 2016 Olympics from anywhere that isn’t Rio, my own backyard is the next best place!

Bear Mountain Resort

RioReady Promo PosterThe Rio 2016 Olympic Spirit Project at Bear Mountain’s Rio Ready Fan Zone

The Olympic Spirit Project will be on location at the Bear Mountain Rio Ready Fan Zone in Victoria BC for the duration of the Games capturing fan excitement, celebration, and commentary. Stay tuned to this blog for images and updates from the event. If you’d like to be featured, dress up in your best patriotic costumes (whichever country you’re cheering for) and come on up the Bear Mountain and cheer on your team!

The RioReady Fan Zone has been designed as a place for the Victoria, BC public to come together in to celebrate and cheer on our Canadian Athletes at the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Rio, Brazil. RioReady is a family-friendly event, so bring the kids and inspire them to be active in sport for life! What better way to inspire the next generation of athletes to DREAM BIG than to expose them to world class athletes competing on the world stage!

Silken Laumann on RioReady

Last month I attended the RioReady press conference and heard Silken Laumann (Three-time Olympic Medalist – Rowing) and Andrew Byrnes (Gold & Silver Medalist – Rowing) as well as Langford Mayor Stew Young speak about the celebration of community spirit around the Games. (It gave me chills just seeing and seeing so many people speak with such excitement about the Olympics again!)

RioReadyPressConf-4296

Olympic Medalist, Silken Laumann at the RioReady Press Conference.

Silken Laumann with her medals at RioReady Press Conference

Silken Laumann with children wearing her Olympic medals (rowing) at the RioReady Press Conference, with Olympic medalist Andrew Byrnes (rowing) standing to her right.

This interview with Silken Laumann, from Victoria Sports News, provides a bit more information and will help your excitement around the Games and the RioReady event.

Fan Zone Live Viewing Schedule for the XXXI Olympic Games

Bear Mountain’s Rio Ready Fan Zone will be open to the public from August 5th to September 18, encompassing both the 2016 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. Plan your viewing schedule and plan to get there early for prime viewing opportunities!

Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Schedule: 

  • OPENING CEREMONIES: Friday August 5 at 2pm (PST)
  • Swimming: August 6 – 13
  • Men’s & Women’s Tennis: August 6 – 14
  • Rowing: August 6 – 20
  • Diving: August 7 – 20
  • Cycling Road: August 6 – 7
  • Men’s Golf: August 17 – 20
  • Women’s Golf: August 17 – 20
  • Cycling – Mountain Biking: August 20 – 21
  • Triathlon: August 18 – 20
  • CLOSING CEREMONIES: Sunday, August 21 at 2 pm (PST)
RioReady Event at Bear Mountain

RioReady Event Press Conference at Bear Mountain Resort

Rio 2016 Paralympic Summer Games Schedule:

  • OPENING CEREMONIES: Wednesday, September 7 at 2 pm (PST)
  • Sailing: September 12th – 17th
  • Athletics: September 8th – 18th
  • WheelChair Rugby: September 14th – 18th
  • WheelChair Tennis: September 9th – 16th
  • Cycling – Track: September 8th – 11th
  • Cycling – Road: September 14th – 17th
  • Paratriathon: September 10th – 11th
  • Rowing: September 9th – 11th
  • CLOSING CEREMONIES: Sunday, September 18 at 2 pm (PST)

Rio Ready Sponsors

The Rio Ready event at Bear Mountain is a jointly sponsored event with the combined efforts of PISE (the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence), the UVic Vikes, the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, and Sporthost Victoria.

I’ll post more details about the event, the venue, and event activities as they become available.

Look for me shooting for the Olympic Spirit Project at RioReady for the Opening Ceremonies and MORE!

#GoCanadaGO! The Olympic Spirit Project

#GoCanadaGO!

CIBC’s Welcome Home to Paralympic Athlete Braydon Luscombe


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This morning I was invited to attend CIBC’s Welcome Home event for local Paralympian, Braydon Luscombe at the bank’s Duncan branch.

Mariska Richters and Braydon Luscombe

Braydon, a 21-year-old para-alpine skier, began para-skiing at age six at the Mount Washington Alpine Resort in BC, as way to help him overcome his impairment. He had his right leg amputated after contracting necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) as a child and competes in the standing category.

I had a chance to chat with Braydon and it was interesting to hear about his Sochi Paralympic experience. Highlights included competing with his team and the incredible support from his family and Canadian fans. For those of you who may have been wondering, the athletes CAN hear you cheering from the gates at the top of the hill before they begin their races! So next time you’re at an alpine competition event, CHEER LOUD!!

Braydon Luscombe

Braydon’s lowlights were mostly snow related. He said it was either heavy and slushy or hard and icy, which made it difficult for the “one-leggers” as he called himself and his team mates. A lesser lowlight was that his practice and  racing schedules were so busy that he did not have time to attend any other Paralympic events. He said he would have to plan that a bit better next time.

Since being home, Braydon has chopped off his mullet and says he has a full appreciation for what us ladies need to do to maintain our lovely locks. He plans to move to Victoria, BC to be closer to an international airport (as he travels about 12 times a year to train and compete), his training facilities, and his girlfriend. He is still deciding on his summer training plans, but he will either be in Victoria or Whistler to train for next season’s competitions.

Braydon competed in six events in Sochi, you’ll find his race results here. He was presented with CIBC’s Welcome Home banner and a Sochi 2014 Paralympics gold coin at the event.  You can follow his ongoing journey via Twitter at @OneLeggedHustla (love the handle!)

Congratulations Braydon!

Braydon Luscombe Braydon Luscombe

2010: A Year in Review


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Another year gone by, and an epic year it was…

The year started off preparing for the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Seeing 2010 on the calendar suddenly made it all a reality and the mad rush to get organized and a site up and filled with content began about a month before the Games actually opened. I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to work with an amazing group of talented folks who teamed up to create the VancouverAccess2010 website. With BCIMC accreditation, we focussed on the fan’s view of the Games and the team of us set out to attend as many events as we possibly could. We photographed and reported on them via this great resource site that we collectively created. Posts were also featured on Canada.com’s VanFans2010 blog.

USA - Norway Olympic Hockey Game

Jasey Jay Anderson, Canadian Gold Medalist Snowboarder

The Gold Medal Party at the Hockey House

The Paralympics was an even more amazing experience for me. With IPC photographer accreditaion, I was able to get up close and personal to shoot the amazing athletes and their inspiring performances in sports ranging from from sledge hockey, to sit skiing, to vision impaired downhill skiing, to curling, to incredibly emotional medal ceremonies! Unbelievable!

Paralympic Alpine Events in Whistler BC

Bronze Medal Sledge Hockey: Canada vs Norway

Paralympic Medal Ceremony in Whistler B.C.

During the Games, I was invited to join a media day trip to Whitehorse, Yukon. Yep, that’s right, a DAY trip to Whitehorse! It was crazy! Caught a 7am flight, toured Whitehorse, met a 2006 silver medalist Olympian, visited  a nature reserve, tasted coffee from a local eco-friendly coffee roasting shop, soaked in some hot springs, drank a Sour Toe Cocktail, and enjoyed a banquet dinner celebrating the annual dog sledding racers. The Yukon is such a beautiful part of our country! I would love to head up there for some summer camping to see what’s under all that snow! I imagine it to be absolutely breathtaking! Another amazing adventurous experience!

Lynx at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve

Me and Christine Larsen and her silver medal

SourToe Cocktail

When the Games were over, I was caught in the Olympic hangover, felt by much of the city, and many of my colleagues and partners in crime throughout this great world event. This got me thinking what I should do next and I came up with the idea that I wanted to do more traveling…

So, in March, I flew to Austin Texas to shoot a wedding for a friend who was unable to make it, due to a car accident. Never having met the bride or groom, nor having ever spoken to them directly, it was an interesting experience. The couple were amazingly welcoming and we got along instantly. I am happy to now call them friends. Their jewish wedding was held in Houston, so there was a bit of a road trip mixed into the trip (and of course some tasty Texan BBQ!). Unfortunately, there was not much time for site seeing with the short timeline, but I hope to make it back to Texas to see and photograph more of it!

Less than 2 weeks after returning from Austin, I was in flight yet again! This time for a month long adventure to Bali, Indonesia! Wow! It was an amazing month full of culture, food, site seeing, crazy drivers and photography! I spent the majority of my time on the northern side of the Island in Lovina. I spent about a week in Ubud as well. My trip to Ubud included a motorcycle adventure through the rice paddies, a walk through the Monkey Forest, a cooking class, and a Kecak and Fire Dance performance. It was an amazing month indeed, and I came home with gigabytes photos of the trip which can be viewed on Flickr.

Air Panas Hot Springs, Banjar, Bali 025

Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali 040

Ubud Wanderings 78

Upon returning to Vancouver, mid-May, the city was gearing up for summer. I was excited to do as much camping and music festival-ing as I could! The first camping trip of the season was the first weekend in June, at Golden Ears Park. Always awesome camping there, one of my favourite provincial parks! No cell phone service, great hikes, campfires and of course tasty camping food (and drink)!

My first music festival of the summer was the Vancouver folk fest. I was fortunate enough to get 2 free Lifetimer, all-access passes to the festival from a friend who was unable to use them (thanks Lulu!) and me and a friend enjoyed a weekend of music, sun and family atmosphere at the beach!

Vancouver Folk Festival 2010 16 Vancouver Folk Festival 2010 35

Vancouver Folk Festival 2010 5

Next on the list was a whale watching adventure with my family out of Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island with Ocean Ecoventures Whale Watching. Again, amazing! You will find a full summary of the adventure in this blog post.

Whale Watching 28

Whale Watching 10

Komasket Music Festival in Vernon, during the August long weekend, was the next road trip. Teaming up with @Scales and @Uncleweed for some social media coverage of the event was great fun! Got some great shots, met some great artists (including Fred Penner and the Wailers), and as with most summer music festivals, came home with a sun burn!

Komasket- Bocephus King 23

Delhi2Dublin 53

Later in August, I took a week long trip to my home town of Duncan, on Vancouver Island to spend my birthday with family and friends. Good times had by all with boating/tubing on Lake Cowichan, and floating in the Cowichan River, a day trip to Port Renfrew and Botanical Beach, and no Island visit in summer would be complete without a fresh local crab fest! The perfect birthday it was!

Botanical Beach 2

In the fall, things finally wound down a bit. The last trip of the year was one out to Ucluelet and Tofino, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. I had not been out this way since I was about 12 years old, so I was very excited to go enjoy and photograph the beaches, especially with storm season just setting in! I was not disappinted! We lucked out with beautiful sunny weather the first day, including a gorgeous sunset on Long Beach. And the next day we enjoyed a storm and some great big crashing waves on the rocks in Ucluelet. And of course no trip to Tofino would be complete without a stop at Cathedral Grove and Coombs to see the goats on the roof on the way back!

Long Beach, Vancouver Island 18

Long Beach, Vancouver Island 46

Wikininnish Beach, Vancouver Island 33

In the fall things became quite busy. I moved out of the downtown core at the end of September, to East Van. Although I have always had a dog on a part time basis, in November Roxie came to stay with me full time as @Scales departed for Thailand. I love having her and love that she gets me out rain or shine (or snow!) for two hour-long walks a day! Having started a fulltime position at 80 Elements Entertainment in October, I have fallen back into a full time job routine. Also, I have been shooting weekend events for Estee Lauder. I started doing Bikrams Yoga three times a week in November, which I have become ridiculously addicted to. So the end of the year has found me to be quite busy.

I was happy to spend Christmas on the Island with family and friends and will be spending New Years Even there as well to ring in another (hopefully) adventurous year full of travel and surprises!

Childhood Friends with the New Generation

My new years resolutions are these: Travel more. Photograph more. Build my photography kit. Learn more about social media. Do more Bikrams! More is MORE!

Cheers to 2010 and all of you that I have met and befriended in the past 365 days! You have made an impact, and (whether good or bad) you have helped shape who I am and who I am to become. I thank you and look forward to another amazing year in 2011!

Cheers and Happy New Year!!!

Photo of the Day: Dec. 9th


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Vancouver 2010 Paralympics sit skiing medals ceremony in Whistler.

Paralympic Medal Ceremony in Whistler B.C.

For more images from the medals ceremony, please visit the Set on Flickr.

Photo of the Day: Dec 7th


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The Canadian Paralympic Sledge Hockey Team warming up for the Bronze Medal game at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games!

Bronze Medal Sledge Hockey: Canada vs Norway

For more images, please visit the Set on Flickr!

Canadian Olympic Committee Receives Funding of $5M Annually for 5 Years!


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Canadian Paralympic Committee Receives New Funding
(image source: Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Ottawa, ON (October 22, 2010) – Today, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and several decorated Paralympians gratefully accepted the financial contribution of $5M annually over the next five years from the Minister of State for Sport, the Honourable Gary Lunn. The funding was announced during the 2010 Canadian Paralympic Congress in Ottawa, attended by leaders in sport and disability organizations from across the country. This announcement follows the financial commitment announced by Minister Flaherty in the Federal Budget on March 4th.

This new funding has triggered the most ambitious plan in the history of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.

“Our vision is to be the world-leading Paralympic Nation. This means more than gold medals. It means having success on the world stage, as well as having a sustainable Paralympic sport system that encourages participation; provides access to the best equipment, coaches and leadership; and, celebrates the accomplishment of our nations’ Paralympians,” said Carla Qualtrough, President for the Canadian Paralympic Committee . “This is a significant day as it marks the beginning of a very bright future for us. It will empower us to enhance the podium performance of the Canadian Paralympic Team as well as to work closely with our partners to raise the awareness of the opportunities available in sport for Canadians with a disability.”

“Our Government is proud to support our Canadian Paralympic athletes. We have all been inspired by their recent successes, notably at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games and the XIX Commonwealth Games in Delhi. This additional investment will ensure that the CPC has the tools that it needs to continue to build on these triumphs, and to encourage more persons with disabilities to actively participate in sport.”

This funding represents a new era for the Canadian Paralympic Committee and leads the organization to a new and brighter future. With significant, stable funding, more children with disabilities will have the opportunity to participate in sport and pursue dreams of representing their country in international high performance competition. The result will be a positive impact on the health and well-being of Canadians, especially those with a disability.

The new Strategic Plan will focus on four pillars: (1) enhancing podium performances at Paralympic Games; (2) building a World-class Paralympic Sport System; (3) creating a sustainable business model for the Canadian Paralympic Committee; and, (4) expanding the awareness of Paralympic sport and building the Paralympic Brand.

“The Federal Government’s commitment represents a new era for the Paralympic Movement in Canada,” said Chantal Petitclerc, five-time Paralympic wheelchair racer and winner of 21 Paralympic medals. “It is very encouraging to see that up and coming athletes will have this type of support from their Government and I am thrilled to see Paralympic sport receive this kind of recognition.

This increase in funding demonstrates that encouraging healthy lifestyles for the 3.6 million Canadians living with disabilities through promotion of sport and recreation remains a priority for this government. It also reflects the growing pride and support of Canadians for the Canadian Paralympic Team. The Canadian Paralympic Committee and its athletes applaud the Federal Government for their support and their vital role in being a strong advocate of the Paralympic Movement.

(source: Canadian Paralympic Committee Press Release)

Canada’s Chef de Mission Named for the London 2012 Paralympic Games


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The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is pleased to announce that Dr. Gaétan Tardif has been named Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Dr. Tardif is a dedicated long-time volunteer within the Paralympic Movement. He first became involved during the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games as a member of the Canadian medical team and has been part of the 6 consecutive Mission Staff Teams for all subsequent Games, making London his 7th Games.

“It is an honour to be selected as Chef de Mission and given the chance to represent Team Canada at the London 2012 Paralympic Games,” said Dr. Tardif. “From the first time I began working as a part of the medical team for the Paralympic Games, I was captured by the incredible drive, athleticism and spirit of Paralympic athletes. They continue to inspire me, and I intend to work tirelessly with the Mission Staff to ensure our athletes get all of the support they need to reach their dreams of standing on the podium.”

Dr. Tardif is Vice?President Quality, Patient Care and Chief Medical Officer at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. He is also a Professor in the Department of Medicine and Director, Division of Physiatry (Physicial Medicine & Rehabilitation), at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Tardif has extensive experience at the Paralympic Games as he was part of the medical team for the Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Paralympics, as well as Chief Medical Officer for the Salt Lake City 2002 and Torino 2006 Paralympic Games. Most recently he served as Assistant Chef de Mission for the Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games, where Canada achieved its best ever performance. He is also a member of the Board of Directors with the Canadian Paralympic Committee as Director of Administration, a role he has had since 2008.

“We are thrilled to have Gaétan as our Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the 2012 Paralympic Games,” said Carla Qualtrough, President of CPC. “Gaétan is incredibly qualified for this role and has been an invaluable member of the Canadian Paralympic Team Mission Staff for the past six Games. We look forward to having his expertise again in London and know he will excel in this new leadership role.”

The Chef de Mission is responsible for helping Canadian Paralympic athletes achieve their performance goals by acting as the official representative and spokesperson for the Canadian Paralympic Team. In this role Dr. Tardif will oversee the Canadian Team’s operational planning and logistics, promote the exploits of Canada’s elite Paralympic summer athletes, and raise awareness of Paralympic sport and the Canadian Team across the country and around the world.  The Chef de Mission will lead team building initiatives for the Canadian Paralympic Team volunteer mission staff to create a strong and cohesive support team for Canadian athletes at the Paralympic Games.

Dr. Tardif’s initial key priorities as Chef de Mission include an initial visit to the London 2012 Summer Paralympic Games site, selecting the Assistant Chef de Mission and key volunteer Mission Staff, and meeting regularly with athletes and coaches to understand their needs and provide them the support and services they need to succeed.

Dr. Tardif was born in Saguenay, Quebec, and completed his medical degree at l’Université Laval and has obtained specialty certifications in Quebec, Canada and the USA following his residency training at the University of Ottawa. He subsequently obtained a diploma in Electrodiagnostic Medicine from the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine as well as a diploma in Sports Medicine from the Canadian Academy of Sports Medicine. Dr. Tardif also has a keen interest in physician leadership development and was recently appointed to the Faculty of the Physician Leadership Institute of the Canadian Medical Association.  He also became President of the Canadian Society of Physician Executives (CSPE) in April 2009.

The London 2012 Paralympic Games will take place August 29 to September 9, 2012.

(source: Media Relations, Canadian Paralympic Committee)

For more information about the Canadian Paralympics Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Team, please visit http://www.paralympic.ca.

2010 Paralympics Opening Ceremonies


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On March 12th, the 2010 Paralympic Opening Ceremonies took place at BC Place in Vancouver, BC. This was an absolutely amazing and inspiring event and I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience it from several photographer positions in the stadium, due to my official VANOC media accreditation.

It was an amazing sight to walk into the stadium and see the stadium filled with people wearing the colored ponchos assigned to their seats. Blue, green and white flooded the stands in the shape of the Paralympic logo. Awesome!

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

The Opening Ceremony was an amazing show with some incredible talent from the disabled community. The Ceremonies started with the introduction of the esteemed guests, including Prime Minister Harper, Premier Gordon Campbell, VANOC CEO John Furlong, and Paralympics President Philip Craven, among members of the four host nations and others.

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

From there, they dove right into the performances and introduction of the Paralympic athletes. Canada is featured here:

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

And from there, the talent and performances spoke for themselves:

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

The inspiring speakers of the event: VANOC CEO, John Furlong, IPC President, Philip Craven and Rick Hansen of the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Man in Motion World Tour.

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

And, of course, the lighting of the Paralympic Cauldron. The torch was brought in by the parents of Terry Fox, Betty and Rolly Fox, A truly emotional and inspiring moment to experience in person. It was passed off to other torch bearers before the final  15 year old torch bearer Zach Beaumont, lit the cauldron.

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

Paralympics 2010 Opening Ceremonies

With the theme of One Inspires Many, the Paralympic Opening Ceremony was definitely inspiring. Good luck to all the athletes competing in the Games! It will be an amazing 10 days!

For more images of the Opening Ceremonies, please visit the set on Flickr!

Torch Relay at Robson Square with Roberto Luongo


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You could feel that Olympic energy returning to Robson Square last night with the torch relay coming through, carried by Roberto Luongo. Hoping to see the fans just as excited during the Paralympic Games over the next ten days in support of the amazing athletes and the additional challenges they face in order to compete in this amazing event.

The crowd gets hyped for Roberto Luongo’s arrival.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Luongo finally arrives.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Luongo’s family, excited to see him.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

The lighting of the cauldron.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Passing the torch to the next 24 hour relay torch bearer.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Gabriela Luongo joined her father on stage.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Gold medal winner, Roberto Luongo with his family.

Paralympic Torch Relay at Robson Square

Post torch even interview. Luong speaks about his gold medal (he showed it to Ryan Kessler first!), the paralympics, the sledge hockey team and how the Olympics affected his NHL game.

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vv0GmRke9Dk]

After all the Luongo excitement was over, I was excited to meet one of the day’s torch bearers. He told me all about riding on the bus with Roberto Luongo that day and how excited he was about having the honour of carrying the torch.

Paralympic Torch Bearer

For more photos from the Robson Square event, please visit my flickr page.

My Paralympics Media Accreditation!


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Here it is! I was approved to receive VANOC media accreditation for the 2010 Paralympic Games! I am very excited to have this opportunity to photograph the amazing athletes participating in the Paralympics and cheer them on in their respective sports! Go Canada GO!!!

I’m aiming to go to and photograph at least one Paralympics event each day of the Games, so check back here and my Flickr account often!

My Paralympics Media Accreditation from VANOC!


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