“An Inspiring Story of Perseverance and Victory”
Stephanie Chan, a 66-year-old Para table tennis player from Vancouver, captured Canada’s first medal at the Parapan Am Games in Santiago, Chile, on Saturday, while Para swimmer Ruby Stevens secured Canada’s first gold later in the day.
Stephanie Chan brought home the bronze medal for Canada despite losing the semifinal match to Giselle Munoz of Argentina. To her, the medal meant so much more, and as she explained, “So excited. I still got a medal. A bronze medal.” Even though she faced off against Munoz with health problems, her grit and determination pushed her to give her best at the games. Stephanie admitted that she’s had some problems with her breathing and is soon to undergo heart surgery. Despite these challenges, Stephanie is determined to carry on and compete after the surgery.
An Unyielding Spirit
Stephanie Chan is no stranger to hardship. Before the Lima Games four years ago, she encountered the loss of her mother, followed by the passing of her husband in 2022. Yet, she has continued to compete, fueling her determination to honor her family and everyone who has supported her. The sense of community and support have been vital in driving her forward. She said, “This is my spirit for people who support me. I still have the confidence to beat other people.”
In the Swimming Pool
Meanwhile, Para swimmer Ruby Stevens set a Parapan Am Games record of 1 minute, 30.41 seconds in the women’s S6 100-meter backstroke final, clinching the gold for Canada. The Scarborough, Ont., native completely dominated her race, finishing 3.97 seconds ahead of the silver medalist from Mexico.
In addition to Stevens’ spectacular victory, Tyson MacDonald secured a bronze in the men’s S14 200m freestyle final, while Fernando Lu came through with a silver medal in the men’s S10 50m freestyle. These victories added to Canada’s impressive medal haul and demonstrated the strength and talent of Canada’s para-athletes.
Facing the Future
Despite the challenges and adversities, these athletes exemplify the unyielding spirit of resilience and perseverance. As we celebrate their triumphant victories, we look forward to seeing their continued success. Onwards and upwards to many more triumphs.