OTTAWA – The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is pleased to announce that three-time Paralympic swimmer Stephanie Dixon (Brampton, Ont. now living in Whitehorse, Yukon) has been named Team Canada’s Chef de Mission for the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games.
Dixon competed at the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games and won a total of seven gold, 10 silver and two bronze medals. She still holds the world record in the 100-metre backstroke in her class (S9). At the 2007 Parapan American Games, she won six gold and one silver.
“I could not be more excited and honored to be named Assistant Chef de Mission for the 2015 Parapan American Games,” said Dixon. “The Toronto 2015 Parapan Am Games are close to my heart, as I am from that area myself. I cannot wait to see Canada’s top athletes face off against some of the best in the world on home soil. I know what an important competition these Games are for athletes to build momentum in pursuit of success on the international stage and I’m excited to assist Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young in mentoring and supporting our Canadian athletes.”
The Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games run August 7 to 15, 2015 and will feature 1,608 athletes from 28 countries competing in 15 sports. Team Canada is expected to send a team of approximately 200 athletes and has set a goal of finishing in the top three nations in the total medal count.
Dixon has an extensive background with the Paralympic movement in Canada. She represented Canada as an athlete for almost 15 years and now works promoting parasport across Canada through roles such as a keynote speaker, blogging, broadcasting and mentoring. She was part of the CPC’s broadcast team at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, TV host of the 2013 IPC World Swimming Championships in Montreal and is an athlete mentor with CIBC’s Team Next. She also works with Sport Yukon as a communications coordinator and speaks at schools across the Yukon.
“Stephanie is an accomplished athlete and dynamic spokesperson who I know will do a fantastic job at motivating and supporting Team Canada’s athletes in pursuit of their performance goals,” said Gaétan Tardif, President of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “She is an inspiring role model for all Canadians.”
Originally from Brampton, Ontario, Dixon swam with the Dorado Stars Swim Club and Cobra Swim Club before heading out to the University of Victoria where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. She won the 2006 University Of Victoria Woman of Distinction Award as well as the 2004 and 2005 University of Victoria Female Outstanding Athlete of the Year awards.
“I have an incredible passion for the Paralympic Movement as it has largely shaped the person who I have become and I have witnessed it change the lives of others,” said Dixon. “The awareness of the Paralympics has grown considerably across the world and I know that here in Canada, we are in the midst of big, groundbreaking changes in the way that Canadians perceive the nature of sport, the limitations of what is possible and what it truly means to be a champion.
“My hope is that our Canadian athletes know that their country is behind them 100 percent, and for our country to see sport like they have never seen it before.”
As Assistant Chef de Mission, Dixon will be a spokesperson for the Canadian Parapan Am Team and will support the leadership provided by Chef de Mission Elisabeth Walker-Young, also a fellow Paralympic swimmer. Their focus is on pre-Games preparation and on building a support team to ensure an optimal environment of success for the athletes. They will also promote Canada’s athletes and raise awareness of Paralympic sport and the Canadian Paralympic Team.
“Stephanie was a rookie when I was a veteran team captain of the Canadian swim team in Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games,” said Walker-Young. “I saw drive, passion and tremendous work ethic in the young rookie Stephanie Dixon. It has been a pleasure to see her grow as an athlete and achieve tremendous successes in the pool. I am also heartened in seeing her convert the skills learned as an elite athlete to life after sport. Stephanie brings a more recent athlete experience to Mission Staff and a natural rapport-building ability that I know will be invaluable both leading up to and during the Games.”
In 2010, Dixon was featured in a powerful Canadian Paralympic television commercial by BBDO Toronto, with the tagline, “Save your sympathy for her opponents.”