Published: June 24 2009
-- Hansen to host 17-part series The Difference Makers --
-- Special Hansen tribute to air 25 years to the day of ‘Man In Motion World Tour’ --
TORONTO (June 24, 2009) – Rick Hansen has made a difference in the lives of millions of Canadians. Now, Hansen will share with fans across the country the compelling and heroic stories of those who have made a difference in the lives of Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes.
Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium has partnered with the Rick Hansen Foundation for the Consortium’s extensive coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Hansen, famed Canadian athlete, activist and social innovator, will host a 17-part series entitled The Difference Makers, airing daily on television, radio and online during the Olympic Games. The Difference Makers pays tribute to the extraordinary coaches, teachers, parents, siblings and even rivals who have helped Canada’s Olympians and Paralympians overcome their greatest personal and athletic challenges. Hansen will host the English version of The Difference Makers, while two-time Olympic silver medallist Alexandre Despatie will host the French version, entitled Faire la différence.
Hansen, a native of Williams Lake, BC, is the President and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, which creates accessible and inclusive communities for people with spinal cord injury and supports research and fundraising initiatives to find a cure. In 1973 at the age of 15, Hansen incurred a spinal cord injury when he was thrown from the back of a pickup truck and was paralyzed from the waist down. In 1985, Hansen set out on a two-year journey that would make history with the ‘Man In Motion World Tour’, pushing his wheelchair through 34 countries to raise awareness of the potential of people with disabilities and funds for spinal cord injury. On March 21, 2010, Hansen and his team will celebrate the 25th Anniversary of this incredible achievement.
"Rick Hansen has proven that anything is possible. With drive, determination and the help of supporters and mentors along the way, Hansen conquered the greatest of odds and has been an inspiration to millions. He has made a monumental difference in the world of sport and beyond," said Keith Pelley, President, Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium. "Rick Hansen makes us proud to be Canadian."
The first of the 17 features will air during the Consortium’s pre-show prior to the Opening Ceremony and will focus on the ‘difference maker’ in Hansen’s life – his coach, the late Stan Stronge. Hansen will join Olympic Prime Time host Brian Williams on-set to launch the series and profile the man who got Hansen out of a hospital bed 36 years ago and encouraged him to make a difference in the lives of others.
"I am thrilled to be hosting The Difference Makers, helping to share the incredible stories of people who have made a difference in the lives of Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes," said Hansen. "As Canadians unite during the 2010 Games, I am proud to help acknowledge and thank those people who have encouraged our athletes along the way; who have contributed to their journeys and helped them achieve their dreams."
On March 21, the last day of the Paralympic Games, the Consortium will air in English and French a one-hour tribute to Hansen, celebrating exactly 25 years to the day that Hansen left Vancouver to begin his ‘Man In Motion World Tour’.
In addition to his role as host of The Difference Makers, Hansen will also appear during the Consortium’s unprecedented 50 hours of coverage of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010.
Leading up-to and during the 2010 Winter Games, CTVOlympics.ca and RDSolympiques.ca will host links to the Rick Hansen Foundation in honour of the 25th anniversary of the ‘Man In Motion World Tour’. Users will be able to donate online, with all proceeds going directly to the Foundation.