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Paralympic flame starts 10-day trek

The Paralympic flame starts making its 10-day trek to Vancouver today after it’s lit at Parliament Hill in Ottawa this morning.

The Paralympic flame starts making its 10-day trek to Vancouver today after it’s lit at Parliament Hill in Ottawa this morning.

While significantly smaller than the Olympics, the Paralympics are in growth mode. After five decades it has evolved from an off-year adjunct to the Olympics into a fully fledged partner staged in the same host city.

And both events were planned by the same group, said Sir Philip Craven, International Paralympic Committee president.

“They’ve gone out right from the start with the intention for it to be one organizing committee and two connected Games in a great festival of sport, and I think it is fantastic,” he said.

Vancouver will mark the first time the word Paralympic has been in the organizing committee’s name, the first time the Olympic and Paralympic flags have flown side by side at city hall and the first Paralympic countdown clock.

Another indicator that the Paralympics’ presence is expanding is in the ability to attract sponsors.

Korean electronics giant Samsung signed on last week as a worldwide partner for the Paralympics, joining Visa, tech firm Atos Origin and Otto Bock.

Carla Qualtrough, the head of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, said having former mayor Sam Sullivan, who is a quadriplegic since a skiing accident at 19, as the Paralympic ambassador, has helped make Vancouver the most accessible Games ever.

 
 
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