Stilwell, one of the world's most decorated Paralympic athletes and the first Canadian Paralympian to win gold in two different sports, announced her retirement Wednesday night after a stellar athletic career, winning seven Paralympic medals, including six golds, and numerous world championship titles.
Michelle Stilwell, the seven-time Paralympic medalist and world record-holder who serves as MLA for Parksville-Qualicum, was selected Wednesday for induction into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
Stilwell is part of a 2017 induction class of 11 athletes and one team. The 51st induction class will be formally inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame April 12, 2017, at the annual Banquet of Champions at the Vancouver Convention Centre West.
“This is one of the greatest honours of my sporting career,” Stilwell said of her selection. “I have had the privilege to represent Canada at multiple international competitions, always striving for excellence, and always pushing myself further than I thought I could. But it hasn’t been without the love and support of my family, coach, friends and Canadians alike that have all been a part of my success.”
Among the inductees are Stilwell’s former wheelchair basketball coach, Tim Frick, who was selected in the Builder/Coach category. Frick, who now lives in Parksville, was born in the U.K. and raised in Port Alberni.
At the age of 17 Michelle was rendered quadriplegic after falling from a friends back while piggyback riding. Prior to her injury Michelle was involved in many sports. She excelled at track, basketball and ringette. Her injury has not put a stop to her enjoyment of these sports, just a few alterations.
The idea of practicing sports in a wheelchair first occurred in England during the Second World War as a means of contributing to the physical and psychological rehabilitation of the many people wounded during the war.
The Paralympics were launched in 1948 when Sir Ludwig Guttman organized the International Wheelchair Games to coincide with the Olympic Games taking place in London. The name derives from the Greek "para" ("beside" or "alongside") and thus refers to a competition held in parallel with the Olympic Games. There is no relation with paralysis or paraplegia intended, however, the word Paralympic was originally a portmanteau combining 'paraplegic' and 'Olympic'.