“Canadian Flag-Bearers Shine Bright at 2023 Parapan Am Games Opening Ceremony”
Shelley Gautier and Rob Shaw led the way for Canadian athletes, as they entered Estadio Nacional in Santiago during the grand opening ceremony of the 2023 Parapan American Games. Gautier, with her signature smile, triumphantly waved the Canadian flag, exclaiming, “We’re having a great time and we got our smiles going and that’s going to have everybody feeling good,” as Shaw proudly stood by her side.
A Historic Occasion
The spectators, including 2,000 athletes from 31 different countries, were treated to an unforgettable view of the Andes mountains as they flooded into the iconic stadium for Santiago’s first-ever international multi-sport event. Estadio Nacional, an 80-year-old structure with a rich and diverse history, stood proudly as the backdrop for the historic occasion.
An Electrifying Celebration
The Parapan American Games’ opening ceremony was nothing short of mesmerizing. From stunning performances by 60 dancers to the crowd doing the wave to the sound of the Americas Paralympic flag being raised, the evening was a testament to the celebration of spirit and resilience from athletes all around the world.
A Time for Pride and Anticipation
As 135 Canadian athletes prepare to compete in the upcoming days, chefs de mission Josh Vander Vies and Karolina Wisniewska stressed the significance of national pride and a focus on performance. The anticipation and excitement among athletes were palpable, while Sport Minister Carla Qualtrough, herself a Paralympic medallist, reflected on the progress of the Para sport movement over the years.
Eyes on the Prize
The focus now turns to Paralympic qualification, with Canada’s wheelchair basketball players gearing up for their opening games. The event holds great significance as it could lead to qualifying for next summer’s Paralympic Games, and the athletes recognize the weight of the moment, emphasizing the need to compete with determination and focus.