Determination, perseverance, discipline. These three qualities truly capture the strength and character of the great Canadian athlete, Olympian and wheelchair race specialist, Chantal Petitclerc.
A paraplegic from the age of 13, Petitclerc discovered a passion for sports while seeking a physical activity suited to her post-accident condition. Wheelchair racing helped her to regain confidence in her abilities and sharpened her desire to test her limits. Her coach was struck by her determination and less than a year later, Petitclerc competed in her first race. In 1991, coach Peter Eriksson taught her how to handle the mental aspects of her sport and how to avoid letting herself become intimidated by opponents. Twice breaking the world record time in the 100m and now a multiple Gold medal Paralympian, Petitclerc’s perseverance and discipline has allowed her to triumph over any obstacle impeding her success. There is not a limit that she does not strive to beat.
In June 2009 Petitclerc was honored with a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame and then July 2009 she was appointment as Companion of the Order of Canada (the highest level of the Order) for “her achievements as a Paralympic champion known internationally as an inspiration, and for her commitment to developing sports for athletes with a disability.
The Beijing Games would be the last time she would be participating in track competitions, Chantal Petitclerc nevertheless continues to train as she intends to take part in road marathons over the next few years.
Chantal Petitclerc is a highly sought after speaker, and shares her story with dozens of groups each year, both throughout Canada and abroad. She participates in projects by various Paralympic athletics and sports organizations, in addition to working as a spokesperson for Défi Sportif in Montréal and as an ambassador for the international Right to Play organization.
Petitclerc was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 where she sits among the remarkable athletes who serve as a profound reminder of the depth and breadth of our nation’s rich sporting landscape.
Petitclerc was named Canada’s chef de mission for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.