The Rio Experience: Coming Together for a Positive Purpose

Published On: September 19, 2016

Another Paralympics for the History Books

Rio Paralympics Opening and Closing Ceremonies

Athletics | Michelle Stilwell

Michelle Stilwell capped off a strong quadrennial for Canada’s Paralympic athletics team on Saturday. Her gold medal in the T52 100m event was her second gold of the Games. Team Canada team dominated the track, winning nearly a third of Canada’s hardware at the Paralympics. The 42-year-old Stilwell set two new Paralympic records in Rio, and has now won seven Paralympic medals in her career: six in athletics (five gold and one silver) as well as gold in wheelchair basketball.

WC Rugby | Ian Chan

In the lead-up to Rio, Canada’s wheelchair rugby team had its heart set on gold, following a silver-medal performance in London four years ago. In the preliminaries, the Canadian team beat Brazil easily, and then took on Britain in a thrilling game, winning 50-49 in overtime. The team’s perfect record ended in its final preliminary match of the tournament, as Canada fell to defending Paralympic champion Australia in a heartbreaking OT defeat. A close semifinal loss to arch-rival U.S. ended Canada’s road to gold. In the bronze medal match, Japan pulled out a two-point win to send Canada home empty-handed in fourth place. Canada has won wheelchair rugby medals in each of the past three Paralympics, but hasn’t yet struck gold in the sport it invented.


The Rio Experience: Coming Together for a Positive Purpose

“The Rio Paralympics were a special event. The volunteers were friendly and the nature surrounding the event was second to none,” said Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, CSCM’s director of sport psychology, who travelled to Rio with the Canadian women’s WC basketball team. “There is nothing like the magic of a multi-sport games. It is hard to describe the experience of the entire world coming together for a positive purpose. The relationships that are formed and the moments that are created will be remembered for people’s entire lives.

Rio Paralympics Closing Ceremony

Only a few people will be on the podium, but everyone who takes part is changed forever.

“The Paralympics is about sport and also the promotion of acceptance and the pushing of limits. Each athlete has a story, and every athlete is there to compete and do their best. They do not see this as unique or special. They are simply living out their purpose and pushing their limits, just as any Olympian might do.

“Everyone returning home will be processing the wonderful experiences they’ve had and determining how this will impact how they live the rest of their lives. Some will be happy with their performance and others will be trying to determine the purpose given a disappointing result. What we do know is that every athlete worked hard for a minimum of four years for their opportunity to represent themselves, their sport, their families and their country. And regardless of a result, they made all of us incredibly proud.”


About CSCM: 

The Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba (CSCM) was created as one of the many legacies of the 1999 Pan American Games held in Winnipeg. Today, CSCM is the hub for high performance sport in Manitoba. A proud member of the Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, CSCM works to provide a world-class, multi-sport daily training environment for athletes and coaches through integrated services and programs in the fields of physiology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, psychology and support services.

For more information, contact:

Jeff Powell
General Manager, Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba
Direct Line: 204.474.7148 | Email: