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High praise for Paralympic fans

Fans are packing into venues and cheering at the 2010 Paralympic Games like never before, athletes say.

Fans are packing into venues and cheering at the 2010 Paralympic Games like never before, athletes say.

Raymond Grassi, a defenceman for Team Canada, said that playing at UBC Thunderbird Arena — which has been sold out for every Canadian sledge hockey game — has been an amazing experience.

“We’ve never played in front of a crowd that big or that loud before,” he said.

“We come out of the dressing room for warmups and I get goose bumps every time. It’s very humbling,” Grassi said. “To have people support us like that is hard to believe sometimes.”

Canadian athletes aren’t the only ones commenting on the crowd sizes and enthusiasm.

Anne-Mette Bredahl is a visually impaired Danish biathlete.

“(The fans) are very good at cheering on everybody,” said Bredahl.

“I got one of the biggest cheers of the day (Wednesday) because four kilometres from the finish line I broke my ski, and (the crowd) knew I was skiing on a broken ski,” she said. “So, when I finally got to the finish people were very supportive.”

She said all the support helped keep her motivated and to push herself to finish the race.