The Canadian Paralympic team fell well short of its goal of placing in the top-five at the Beijing Paralympics, placing 10 th overall with 50 total medals, or about 29 fewer than fifth place finisher Australia.
Canada ranked slightly higher in the gold medal count, placing seventh with 19.
The change in Canada’s medal expectations was not the result of any lapse in Canadian athletics, but more of a testimony to how strong other countries are becoming. More than 20 additional countries took part in the Beijing Paralympics than Athens in 2004, where Canada placed third. As well, other countries like China, Australia and Ukraine are investing more in Paralympic sport than ever before, and as a result there are no easy events or categories.
In Beijing, China won the most medals, 208, including 88 gold medals. Great Britain was a distant second with 102 total medals, 42 gold; followed by the U.S. with 99 medals, 36 gold; Australia with 79 medals, 23 gold; Ukraine with 73 medals, 24 gold, Russia with 63 medals, 18 gold; Germany with 59 medals, 14 gold; Spain with 58 medals, 15 gold; and France with 51 medals, 11 gold.
Canada’s top athlete in Beijing was wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc, who won five gold medals — the 100-metre, 200-metre, 400 metre, 800 metre and 1,500 metre.