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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

RICK HANSEN

Inducted in 2006

Member Details

Date of Birth: August 26, 1957
Place of Birth: Port Alberni, British Columbia
Sport: Wheelchair Athletics
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1979, 1980, 1982

National Disabled Athlete of the Year

1982

Pan-American Wheelchair Games (9 gold medals, 9 records)

1983

Lou Marsh Award

Canadian outstanding athlete of the year (co-winner with Wayne Gretzky)

1984

VII World Wheelchair Games - Gold medal and Silver medal

World Wheelchair Champion - Marathon

1985-1987

Man in Motion World Tour (40,072 km)

Honoured Member RICK HANSEN
Inspire

Story

Some athletes are so remarkable that their accomplishments transcend mere sporting achievement. Such is the case with Rick Hansen, best-known for his Man in Motion tour, during which he wheeled around the world to raise awareness for spinal cord injuries and challenge the dominant stereotypes faced everyday by people in wheelchairs and others with physical disabilities. A motor-vehicle accident while hitch-hiking home from a fishing trip left Hansen paralyzed from the waist down at age 15. His response to tragedy was inspirational. Hansen became an accomplished wheelchair athlete. Between 1979 and 1984, he won 19 international wheelchair marathons, including the 1984 World Wheelchair Championships and the 1982 Boston Marathon (unofficial). Hansen was also an accomplished competitor on the track, winning nine gold medals and setting nine records at the 1982 Pan-American Wheelchair Games. In 1984, he won gold in the 1,500m and silver in the 5,000m at the VII World Wheelchair Games and was a finalist in the 1,500m exhibition event at the Los Angles Olympics. Hansen has also participated in championships in wheelchair basketball, tennis, and volleyball. But Hansen is best known for his efforts to raise both awareness and money for spinal cord injuries. The Man in Motion tour began on March 21, 1985. By the time he finished, on May 22, 1987, Hansen had wheeled an amazing 40,072 km through 34 countries on four continents. Averaging between 50-70 km (or eight hours) per day for the 792 days he wheeled over 26 months, Hansen was increasingly greeted by large and enthusiastic crowds. Eighty thousand people turned out in Tianjin, China, and thousands of Canadians cheered his final journey across Canada beginning in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, in August 1986. In all, the Man in Motion tour raised $26.1 million for spinal cord research, rehabilitation, and wheelchair sport. At the tour's end, in 1988, Hansen created The Rick Hansen Foundation, a charitable organization that has continued to raise money and support research into spinal cord injury. To date, the Foundation, has raised $178 million. In addition, Hansen continues to support the development of wheelchair sports through the Man in Motion Legacy Trust Fund. For his remarkable accomplishments, Hansen was named a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987.


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