With the turn of the calendar year and the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games on the horizon, we take a look back at 16 of the greatest Paralympic moments in Canadian wheelchair basketball history. Check them out below (in reverse chronological order).
Called to the Hall (Again)
In 2014, legendary wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick became the first Paralympic coach ever to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Inducted as a builder, Frick’s tenure as head coach of the Canadian Women’s National Team from 1990-2009 included four medals – three gold and one bronze – in five appearances at the Paralympic Games.
Called to the Hall
This moment took place outside of the Paralympic arena but served to acknowledge all that coach Tim Frick and athlete Jennifer Krempien had accomplished within it. In 2013, Frick and Krempien became the first wheelchair basketball representatives to be inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame for their success at the Paralympic Games and their contributions to the Paralympic movement in Canada.
The Canadian Men’s National Team were a dominant force en route to a third Paralympic gold medal on the strength of an 8-0 record at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. The final once again featured a clash between the Canucks and the Aussies, and Canada avenged its loss from four years earlier at Beijing 2008 by defeating Australia 64-58 to be crowned champions in London. You can also watch this Paralympic match on YouTube!
Canada took home the silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games. The Canadian men finished the tournament with a 7-1 record and fell just short of a gold medal three-peat after losing 72-60 to rival Australia in the Paralympic final.
Double Overtime Thriller
The men’s semifinal match between rivals Canada and the United States at the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games was an absolute thriller. Canadian great Patrick Anderson delivered clutch heroics and scored a three-pointer to tie the game at 49 with 16.5 seconds left in the fourth quarter, forcing overtime. Ultimately, Canada would outlast Team USA in double overtime by a score of 69-62 and advance to the gold medal game.
The Canadian Men’s National Team successfully defended its Paralympic title at the Athens 2004 Games. The Canadians were unstoppable en route to gold, going 8-0 in the win column while boasting the second most explosive offence and the top ranked defence of the tournament. Canada was victorious by a score of 70-53 over Australia in the final.
Rebound for Bronze
The Team Canada women secured the bronze medal with a convincing 63-47 win over Germany at Athens 2004. Canada rebounded nicely against Germany to earn a spot on the podium after a semifinal loss to the Americans which ended Canada’s winning streak of 19 consecutive games at the Paralympics and denied the Canadians a chance to four-peat as Paralympic champions.
This particular “moment” spans 14 years. During that time the Canadian women accumulated an incredible winning streak at the Paralympic Games and world championships. Canada was undefeated as of the bronze medal game at the world championship in 1990 until the semifinal game at the Athens 2004 Paralympics, at which point the women lost to rival Team USA. The streak included 19 consecutive victories in Paralympic Games competition.
The Team Canada men won their first-ever Paralympic gold medal at the Sydney Games in 2000. It also marked their first Paralympic podium finish. Canada defeated the Netherlands by a score of 57-43 in the championship game and went undefeated with eight straight wins in the tournament.
Sitting on Top of the World
The sight of wheelchair basketball great Chantal Benoit perched atop the basket in celebration following a gold medal victory became something of a tradition during the dynasty years with the Canadian Women’s National Team. Canada won back-to-back-to-back Paralympic gold medals in 1992, 1996 and 2000.
The Canadian Women’s National Team captured an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal at the Paralympic Games at Sydney 2000. Canada was victorious 46-27 over host Australia in the championship game and went undefeated with an overall 5-0 record.
The Canadian Women’s National Team successfully defended the Paralympic title by winning back-to-back gold medals in wheelchair basketball at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games. Canada defeated the Netherlands 46-37 in the championship game and solidified itself as an emerging powerhouse in the sport.
Capture the Flag
Canadian Women’s National Team player and Vancouver, B.C. native Marni Abbott-Peter had the honour of carrying the Canadian flag and leading her teammates and compatriots into the stadium at the opening ceremony of the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta.
The Canadian Women’s National team captured the first Paralympic gold medal in team history at the Barcelona Games in 1992. Canada seized gold in decisive fashion by going undefeated (5-0), including a 35-26 win over Team USA in the Paralympic final.
Welcome to the Show
The Canadian women made their debut at the Heidelberg 1972 Paralympic Games. Canada placed fifth with a 1-2 record. The team defeated Yugoslavia 18-8 in the preliminary round to earn its first-ever victory at the Paralympics.
Paralympic Stage Debut
The Canadian Men’s National Team competed at the Paralympics for the very first time at the Games in Tel Aviv in 1968. The Canucks, led by bench boss Vic Cue, went 1-4 en route to an eighth place finish. Canada defeated Sweden 35-15 in preliminary play to pick up its first Paralympic win.