Rick Hansen, an icon to Canadians and inspiration to millions around the world, celebrated tonight’s 2010 Paralympic Winter Games opening ceremonies by emphasizing the role that sport and dreams play in bringing people together to make a difference in all of our lives.
Expanding on the evening’s theme of “the one who inspires many,” Canada’s Man In Motion told a large, energetic audience in BC Place Stadium that anything is possible if you believe in your dreams and have the courage to strive to reach them.
“People with disabilities have no boundaries in this world. They can dream, achieve and excel,” said Hansen. “Those of us privileged to watch the drama unfold on the field of play will be entertained, inspired, and encouraged to believe and hope that anything is possible in our lives too.”
Hansen added that he will never forget his own experiences competing as an athlete at the Paralympic Games, where he earned a total of six medals in 1980 and 1984.
“Sport helped fulfill my life and made me realize I didn’t need to be cured to be whole as a human being. It also made me realize how important an impact you can have when you try to make a difference in the lives of others,” said Hansen, who brought the torch into BC Place Stadium to mark the opening of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games on February 12.
The 2010 Paralympic Winter Games hold special significance for Hansen and millions more who have benefitted from advances in spinal cord research and enhanced accessibility initiatives in recent years. March 21, the last day of the 2010 Paralympics, coincides with the 25th anniversary to the day that Hansen launched his ground-breaking Man In Motion World Tour. For two years, two months and two days, Rick and his team wheeled more than 24,000 miles through 34 countries raising $26 million for spinal cord research, and more importantly, awareness about the potential of people with disabilities.