The 2010 Winter Paralympic Games are coming to Vancouver, March 12th until the 21st, as our city hosts the world once again celebrating athletes who are the very best in their sport. In case you were wondering just what exactly the Paralympics entail, I thought I would put together this quick reference guide.
“In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann organized a sports competition involving World War II veterans with a spinal cord injury in Stoke Mandeville, England. Four years later, competitors from the Netherlands joined the games and an international movement was born. Olympic style games for athletes with a disability were organized for the first time in Rome in 1960, now called Paralympics.
In Toronto in 1976, other disability groups were added and the idea of merging together different disability groups for international sport competitions was born. In the same year, the first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden.” – International Paralympic Committee
Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Cross-Country Skiing, Wheelchair Curling, Ice Sledge Hockey.
Paralympic Village Vancouver
Paralympic Village Whistler
UBC Thunderbird Arena
Vancouver Paralympic Centre
Whistler Media Centre
Whistler Medals Plaza
Whistler Paralympic Park
The Cultural Olympiad is still going strong as well, presenting performances until March 21st. Nightly medals ceremony concerts in Whistler are listed here.
Pavilions & Attractions
Canada House: Until March 21st
LiveCity Downtown: Until March 21st
Canada’s Northern House: Until April 17th
Robson Square Ice Skating at GE Plaza: Until March 21st
CentrePlace Manitoba: Until March 21st
Olympic Line free streetcar: Until March 21st
Olympic cauldron in Coal Harbour
Cultural Olympiad: Until March 21st
Robson Square Zipline: Until March 21st (Daily 10am – 9pm)
Royal Canadian Mint: Until March 21st (at a new location, 350 W Georgia – Vancouver Public Library)
BC Hydro Power Smart Village: Until March 21st
BC Pavilion: Until March 21st
From my master list of pavilions the following will still be open:
Hastings St between Main St and Burrard
Smithe St between Expo St and Howe St
Nelson St between Thurlow St and Beatty St
King Edward Ave between Oak St and Sophia St
Cambie St between King Edward Ave and 37th Ave
2nd/6th Ave between Hemlock St to Main St
Main St from 2nd Ave to Terminal Ave
The following routes will continue to have “no stopping” regulations through March 21, 2010
There is a full Paralympics transportation plan available from the City of Vancouver.
Event tickets start at around $15 or $20 so if you didn’t have the chance to go to an Olympic sporting event, this may be your chance to get in on some world-class athletic competition.
Ottawa, Ontario â€” Lighting Ceremony on March 3, 2010
Quebec City, Quebec â€” March 4, 2010
Toronto, Ontario â€” March 5, 2010
Esquimalt/Victoria, British Columbia â€” March 6, 2010
Squamish, British Columbia â€” March 7, 2010
Whistler, British Columbia â€” March 8, 2010
Lytton, British Columbia â€” March 9, 2010
Hope, British Columbia â€” March 9, 2010
Vancouver Paralympic Centre, British Columbia â€” March 10, 2010
Maple Ridge, British Columbia â€” March 10, 2010
UBC Thunderbird Arena, British Columbia â€” March 11, 2010
Vancouver (downtown), British Columbia â€” A 24-hour event will start around Robson Square in downtown Vancouver as the Paralympic Flame is continuously carried and passed between torchbearers â€” March 11, 2010
Vancouver (downtown), British Columbia â€” The 24-hour event continues and concludes around Robson Square, prior to the Opening Ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games at BC Place â€” March 12, 2010
The Paralympic Torch Relay will begin March 3, 2010 and conclude at the Opening Ceremony March 12th in Vancouver.
CBC’s Rick Mercer will represent the province of British Columbia as a torchbearer in the 2010 Paralympic Torch Relay Lighting Ceremony on March 3 in Ottawa. There will be other recognizable names along the way which you can look up online.
The Opening Ceremony will not be aired live Friday night on CTV. According to their website: “The opening ceremonies will not be broadcast live. Instead, they’ll be tape-delayed by CTV until Saturday, and packaged with Canada’s first sledge-hockey match.”
“The good news is that social media and the internet are picking up where traditional media is failing. Paralympic Sport TV â€” the Internet TV channel of the International Paralympic Committee â€” will offer free live broadcasts worldwide via Internet.” – Via Glenda Watson-Hyatt.
Update There are some reports that the Opening Ceremony will air live only in BC. This is yet to be confirmed by CTV however News1130 has spoken with them. They have been assured that the Opening Ceremony will air live, locally.
I have not been accredited to cover the Paralympics, due to late application, however this event will be a part of our city over the next month and anything that keeps the Olympic spirit alive is worth documenting and promoting in my books.
Update: VANOC has approved my accreditation, so it looks like I’ll be able to cover this even more. Thanks for all the support!