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/C O R R E C T I O N from Source -- Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)/

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Cross Country Canada nominates high-powered lineup of athletes to Sochi 2014 Canadian Paralympic Team

LAKE LOUISE, AB, Feb. 11, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada will send a high-powered group of cross-country skiers and biathletes to the Sochi start line with a focus on contributing to the nation's medal count at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Cross Country Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced on Tuesday.

A total of 14 of the nation's best para-Nordic skiers and biathletes, eight men and six women, will don the maple leaf race suit next month in Sochi. The 11 athletes and three guides include a group of Paralympic, World Championship and World Cup medal winners led by 10-time Paralympic medallist Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) along with his guides Erik Carleton (Canmore, Alta.) and Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse, YK), and eight-time Paralympic medallist Colette Bourgonje, (Saskatoon, Sask.).

They will be joined by fellow Paralympians who are World Cup and World Championship medallists, Mark Arendz (Hartsville, PEI); Chris Klebl (Canmore, Alta.); along with Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert, Sask.); Caroline Bisson (Ottawa, Ont.); Yves Bourque (Bécancour, Que.); Sébastien Fortier (Quebec City, Que.); Louis Fortin (Shippagan, N.B.); Margarita Gorbounova (Ottawa, Ont.); Robbi Weldon (Thunder Bay, Ont.); and guide Andrea Bundon (Regina, Sask.).

"These athletes represent one of the most talented groups of para-Nordic athletes that we have ever sent to a Games," said Mike Edwards, team leader and assistant high-performance director, Cross Country Canada. "This team has achieved great success in the competitive culture of excellence we have created at Cross Country Canada, having won medals at national championships, World Cups, World Championships and the Paralympics. Depth is key to any podium attack and Canada is well positioned to continue this success well into the future."

The athletes are coached by Robin McKeever (Canmore, Alta.) and Saskatoon's Kaspar Wirz.

For complete athlete and coach biographies, click HERE: http://tinyurl.com/q99todu

"As we close in on Sochi's Paralympic Games, it is exciting see the announcement of a para-Nordic team comprised of new talent and veteran performers," said Team Canada's Chef de Mission, Ozzie Sawicki. "Our para-Nordic athletes will be up for the challenge as they compete against a strong field of nations in Sochi and I have extreme confidence in their ability to bring home podium results in support of Canada's goal to be a top three gold medal nation at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games."

"As Minister of State (Sport), I wish all the best to our Canadian Paralympic Team athletes as they prepare for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi," said the Hon. Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "I would also like to thank the coaches, family and officials who support and encourage these athletes who will proudly represent our country."


      Events qualified to compete
Athletes Sport Class Hometown CC -Sprint CC - Mid CC Long BT - Short BT  -Mid BT - Long
Mark Arendz LW 6 Hartsville, PEI X X X X X X
Caroline Bisson LW6 Ottawa, QC X X X X X X
Colette Bourgonje LW10 Saskatoon, SK X X X      
Yves Bourque LW12 Becancour, QC X X X      
Andrea Bundon Guide Gorbounova Regina, SK            
Erik Carleton Guide McKeever Canmore, AB            
Louis Fortin LW6 Shippagan, NB X X        
Sebastien Fortier LW11.5 Quebec City, QC X X X      
Margarita Gorbounova B3 Ottawa, ON X X X X X X
Brittany Hudak LW8 Prince Albert, SK X X X      
Chris Klebl LW11 Canmore, AB X X X      
Brian McKeever B3 Canmore, AB X X X X X X
Graham Nishikawa Guide Weldon Whitehorse, YT            
Robbi Weldon B2 Thunder Bay, ON X X X      

The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from March 7 to 16. With a goal of placing in the top three nations in the gold medal count, Canada will send approximately 50 athletes to compete in sledge hockey, wheelchair curling, para-Nordic skiing, biathlon, para-alpine skiing and para-snowboard.

Nomination to the Canadian Paralympic Team is ongoing. The full team will be officially unveiled in late February.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Media are invited to visit photos.paralympic.ca and create an account to be able to download high-resolution photos of Canadian Paralympic athletes at any time, at no cost.

WATCH: With 100 days to go to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) unveiled an unprecedented, fully accessible broadcast and electronic media plans for the most comprehensive coverage ever offered in Canada for a Paralympic Games - more than 65 hours of broadcast, up to 350 hours of digital streaming, and rights free news access highlights connecting Canadians via multi platforms. CPC will lead the Paralympic Broadcast Consortium partners in creating coverage on five broadcast/digital platforms: CBC/Radio-Canada, Sportsnet, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), Yahoo Sports Canada and SendtoNews.

About Cross Country Canada

Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation's optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 58,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada's National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners - Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Canadian Pacific and Statoil - along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee and Own the Podium, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com.

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee is a non-profit, private organization with 25 member sports organizations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The Canadian Paralympic Committee's vision is to be the world's leading Paralympic nation. Its mission is to lead the development of a sustainable Paralympic sport system in Canada to enable athletes to reach the podium at the Paralympic Games. By supporting Canadian high performance athletes with a disability and promoting their success, the Canadian Paralympic Committee inspires all Canadians with a disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organizations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

SOURCE Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

Image with caption: "Canada will send a high-powered group of cross-country skiers and biathletes to the Sochi start line with a focus on contributing to the nation's medal count at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Cross Country Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced on Tuesday. (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140211_C9411_PHOTO_EN_36580.jpg

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