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Wheelchair Curler Sonja Gaudet to carry the flag for Canada at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA, March 5, 2014 /CNW/ - The Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today that wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet (Vernon, B.C.) has been selected as flag bearer for Canada at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Gaudet is the world's most decorated wheelchair curler, having won gold at the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games (Torino) and at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games (Vancouver). Her long list of achievements also includes gold medals from the 2009, 2011 and 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.

"Being chosen to be the flag bearer for the Canadian Paralympic team is an incredibly huge honor," stated Gaudet. "I have so many emotions going on in my mind right now and they are all good!"

Gaudet has a keen interest in accessibility issues in her community of Vernon and works hard to share her experience and knowledge to create new recreational opportunities for people with mobility challenges. She is an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Canadian Paralympic Committee where she uses the power of sport and her experience of overcoming challenges to motivate and inspire people of all ages.

"I am so excited to enter the stadium at the opening ceremony with my Canadian wheelchair curling team mates and to be representing all of my fellow Canadian Paralympic athletes here at the Games and across Canada," Gaudet said. "I hope to lead by example and "send a message of ability and not disability. And that it's not about what's missing, it's about what's there."

"Canada has had many amazing athletes proudly carry our flag into the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games, and the announcement of Sonja Gaudet as our 2014 Paralympic Winter Games Flag Bearer is a continuing legacy of excellence," said Team Canada Chef de Mission Ozzie Sawicki. "Sonja has impeccable performance credentials, at all levels, including Paralympic Games and World Championships, entering these Games as a defending Paralympic gold medalist and the reigning world Champion. Sonja is also an influential spokesperson within the parasport community in Canada and conducts herself with exceptional professionalism. A true team player, Sonja will represent our country with pride as she leads our 2014 Canadian Paralympic Team into the opening ceremonies in March 7."

Selection criteria for the flag bearer for the Opening Ceremony require that the athlete have previous international experience competing for Canada, exhibit a commitment to fair play, be respected as a role model by other athletes, maintain an exemplary standard of behavior as per the True Sport Values and have made a contribution to the sporting community in Canada and/or internationally.

For full information about Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, please visit paralympic.ca/team-canada.

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: "The Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today that wheelchair curler Sonja Gaudet (Vernon, B.C.) has been selected as flag bearer for Canada at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia (CNW Group/Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20140305_C9251_PHOTO_EN_37542.jpg

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