The Honourable Chantal Petitclerc was born in 1969 in Saint-Marc-des-Carrières, Québec. At the age of 13, she lost the use of her legs following an accident. Her first contact with sport and intense training came following her accident, at the urging of Gaston Jacques, her high school physical education teacher, who convinced her to take up swimming for strength and stamina. This decision would have an important impact on her life, leading ultimately to her discovery of wheelchair athletics. Her athletic accomplishments and leadership paved the way for a long and very successful career which would take her to the Barcelona Games in 1992, and ultimately, to the Beijing Games in 2008.
Senator Petitclerc is the recipient of numerous honours and recognition for accomplishments in sport, including being named a Companion of the Order of Canada, Personality of the Year by La Presse newspaper (2004) and the Laureus international award (2005). She has been honoured by the United States Sport Academy, the International Paralympic Committee, has a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame, and has been listed seven times as one of the Most Influential Women in Sport.