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Honorary degree citation - Chantal Petitclerc

By: Jennifer McGrath, June 2017

Mr. Chancellor, it is my honour to present to you Senator Chantal Petitclerc, the most successful wheelchair racer of all time and a role model for athletes around the world.

At the age of 13, Ms. Petitclerc lost the use of her legs following an accident.

Quatre ans plus tard, elle allait découvrir l’athlétisme en fauteuil roulant et s’engager dans une longue et fructueuse carrière.

Mme Petitclerc est la seule athlète canadienne à avoir gagné des médailles aux Jeux olympiques, aux Jeux paralympiques et aux Jeux du Commonwealth.

She won her first Canadian championship in 1989 and to this day is the Canadian record holder in the 100, 200, 400 and 800 meter events.

In July 2002 at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England, Ms. Petitclerc took gold in the 800 meter– the first wheelchair event to ever be fully integrated into the program of a major international competition.

In winning a gold medal, Ms. Petitclerc became the first athlete in the history of adaptive sports to register a result for her country's team at a non-Paralympic event.

Ms. Petitclerc exemplifies the best lessons that sport and life can teach us because she understands, practices and communicates these lessons in her personal, athletic and public life.

An athlete, public speaker and columnist for Chatelaine magazine, Ms Petitclerc is also the author of the book 16 jours a Pekin (16 days in Beijing), which tells the story of her last Paralympic experience.

Ms. Petitclerc regularly takes part in various Paralympic athletics and sports organizations' projects.

She is an athlete ambassador for Right To Play, an international humanitarian organization that uses sport programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world.

She is also a spokesperson for Defi Sportif in Montreal, an international event that brings together athletes from the elite and newcomers, with all types of disabilities.

Ms. Petitclerc was awarded the Lou Marsh trophy for Athlete of the Year in 2008, and was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2009.

Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of Senate and the Board of Governors, it is my privilege and honour to present to you Senator Chantal Petitclerc, so that you may confer upon her the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

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