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Canada kicks off one-year countdown to 2010 Paralympics
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09:04, March 13, 2009

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Organizers of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics on Thursday kicked off the one-year countdown to the Paralympics.

The Vancouver Games Organizing Committee (VANOC) and the Canadian Paralympic Committee say they are doing everything to keep the momentum going between Games next year, including staging a Paralympic torch relay.

"It's something that we in Vancouver have been putting our minds to deliberately since we were awarded the Games in 2004," CPC president Carla Qualtrough said during a conference call from Vancouver.

"There's a huge amount of anticipation. ... The Paralympics will deliver."

The Paralympics will benefit from operations that have been perfected and by not serving as a test event for the main Olympics, she said.

The Paralympics, which run from March 12 through 21, will play host to 1,350 athletes and team officials from 40 countries and regions. It offers just a small number of sports, including alpine skiing, sledge hockey, biathlon, cross-country skiing and wheelchair curling.

The Winter Paralympics began in 1976 in Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. Since 1992 in Albertville, the Paralympics were twinned with the Olympic Games.

Canada expects to send a team of 55 athletes and hopes to finish third overall, improving on its efforts at the Paralympics in Turin three years ago when the Canadian team placed sixth. At those Games, Canada won 13 medals, five of them gold, three silver and five bronze.


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