PM congratulates Canadian athletes on Paralympic medals

Ottawa, Ontario
4 September 2012

Prime Minister Stephen Harper today congratulated Josh Vander Vies and Marco Dispaltro on their bronze medal in Mixed Pairs Boccia (BC4), Benoît Huot on his bronze medal in the Men's 100-metre Backstroke (S10), and Summer Mortimer on her gold medal and on setting the new world record in the Women's 100-metre Backstroke (S10) at the 2012 Summer Paralympic Games in London.

“Congratulations to Josh Vander Vies, Marco Dispaltro, Benoît Huot, and Summer Mortimer on their exceptional performances today in London,” said the Prime Minister. “These dedicated athletes have trained extremely hard, striving for perfection, and I commend them on their success at the Paralympic Games.”

Marco Dispaltro was born in Montreal, Quebec and currently resides in St-Jérôme, Quebec. This is his first time competing in the Paralympic Games and this is his first Paralympic medal.  Mr. Dispaltro started playing wheelchair sports in 1993 as a rugby player. In May 2010, Dispaltro began playing boccia and in 2011, he won silver medals in the sport at both the World Cup and the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Josh Vander Vies was born in Sarnia, Ontario and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is his second Paralympic Games – having competed in the 2004 Athens Paralympics – and this is his first Paralympic medal. In 2011, Mr. Vander Vies participated in the Parapan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he won a bronze medal.

Benoît Huot, of Longueuil, Quebec, is a veteran Paralympic swimmer. This is Mr. Huot’s fourth Paralympic Games, and his 18th Paralympic medal, the second of these Games in London. At the Sydney Games in 2000, Mr. Huot took home three gold medals and three silver medals. Four years later in Athens, he won five gold medals and one silver medal, and at the 2008 games in Beijing, Mr. Huot won four bronze medals.

Summer Mortimer, of Ancaster, Ontario, is a first time Paralympian and this is her third Paralympic medal of these Paralympic Games, having won silver in the women’s 200-metre individual medley (S10), and gold in the women’s 50-metre freestyle (S10) in world record time. In 2010, Ms. Mortimer won four gold medals at the International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships.

The 2012 Summer Paralympic Games are being held from August 29 to September 9 in London, United Kingdom. Canada is being represented by more than 145 athletes who are competing in 15 sports. More than 4,000 athletes from 125 countries are participating in the largest ever Paralympic Games.