Canadian Paralympic athlete and wheelchair tennis player Joel Demby received kudos for his achievements at the 2012 London Olympic Games from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and City Council.
Demby, along with other Canadian athletes who performed at the London Olympics, such as Justin Karn in judo and Shelley Gautier in para-cycling, were celebrated on the second day of Toronto City Council meetings.
Fresh from London 2012, Demby said he was now looking forward to representing Canada at the 2015 Pan Am Games, to be held in Toronto.
“There are two team members; I’m 50 per cent of the team. Wheelchair tennis is an independent sport so, yeah it’s great,” said Demby.
Mayor Ford introduced a small delegation of Paralympians to City Hall Wednesday morning, telling councillors he sees the athletes as hometown heroes.
“They did a fantastic job of representing Canada at the games and pushed themselves to embody the Olympic motto: Faster, higher, stronger,” he said.
Ford recalled the massive parade that took place in down town Toronto called the Olympic Heroes Parade.
“Many of us were there with thousands of fans showing up to congratulate and cheer on our athletes. We are very honored to have some of our Olympic and Paralympic athletes here with us today.
Christopher Overholt, Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee, also congratulated the athletes.
“Only a few short months ago these athletes and coaches packed up their bags and said goodbye to their families. Then they flew to London to compete for Canada in the greatest spectacle in global sport,” he said.
“Their passion and determination lead to 18 Olympic podium finishes for the Canadian [Paralympic] team. As Mayor Ford has already said you are Toronto’s home town heroes,” Overholt said.
Overholt also attended the Olympic Heroes parade where he says he saw thousands of Torontonians take to the streets to cheer on athletes.
“Toronto is such an important part of the Olympic and Paralympic family. What we saw that day the enthusiasm that Toronto represented, we’ll find again just three years from now when this amazing city hosts the Americas during the Pan and Parapan American Games in 2015,” he added.
According to the Pan Am and Parapan American Games website, Joel Demby is the top-ranked wheelchair tennis player in Canada. Demby also participated in the Parapan American Games in 2011 that took place in Mexico.