The Canadian Paralympic Team is pumped. Watching their Olympic peers bring home an impressive amount of gold medals put some fire in their bellies. As the Paralympics are set to begin in Canada, the athletes are chomping at the bit.
Blair McIntosh, chef de mission of the Canadian team, revealed that “they are pretty pumped. They are really excited about the opportunity to compete on home soil. The awareness is out there more than it has been before. The opportunity to perform on home soil is an outstanding opportunity for them”.
As it did with the Olympics, Canada is setting some lofty goals for these Paralympic Games. Among them, to be in the top three gold medal earners of all countries. In Torino for the 2006 Games, Canada came in sixth place, earning 13 medals (five gold). The Russian Federation led those Games with 13 golds and 33 total. If these Games are anything like the Olympic Games, the Russian Federation will feel Canada creep up on them like a virus.
55 Canadian athletes will represent the team, and McIntosh is confident they can reach their goal. When asked how the pressure from expectation and from being the host country will affect the athletes, he said, “When we are talking to the athletes they have embraced it. They are not looking at is a pressure so much as an opportunity. They are looking at it as a chance to showcase themselves and create a whole new awareness of the Paralympic movement. It’s not so much pressure, but a real opportunity.”