2010 Paralympic Experience Vancouver applications now available

Oct. 13, 2009, 11:15 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), is encouraging students with physical disabilities to promote physical fitness in their daily lives by applying for the 2010 Paralympic Experience in Vancouver, Canada.

Twelve student athletes with physical disabilities and six adults, made up of coaches, teachers and program leaders, will earn a trip to the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Vancouver, Canada, March 12-21, 2010.

Participants in the Paralympic Experience Vancouver will have the opportunity to meet U.S. Paralympic team members, attend Opening Ceremonies and athletic competitions and build camaraderie with other student athletes.

"Paralympic Experience Vancouver recognizes student leaders with physical disabilities who are participating and promoting physical fitness in their schools and communities," said Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics, USOC. "It also recognizes those coaches and teachers that are implementing sport programs that create opportunities and dreams for students with physical disabilities."

To apply, student athletes, ages 14-19, must either submit a video or write an essay answering the question:  "How has sport positively impacted your life as a person with a physical disability?"

The group of six coaches, teachers and program leaders will be chosen from applications submitted which include a one-page essay describing their work with students with physical disabilities.

Applications are available at http://usparalympics.org/content/index/5124. Deadline to enter is December 1, 2009.

Vancouver marks the fourth Paralympic Experience, with the first event taking place in 2004 Paralympic Games in Athens, Greece.

2008 Paralympian Greta Neimanas (Chicago, Ill./cycling) participated in the inaugural experience and said that the event had a profound impact on her.

"Being selected to go to Athens was an incredible honor, and meeting Paralympic mentors and being introduced to cycling inspired me to pursue representing my country at the Paralympic Games."