U.S. Paralympics

U.S. Paralympics

Chris Waddell first American elected to Paralympic Hall of Fame

March 11, 2010, 12:32 p.m. (ET)

VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA -- Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) once again will be the Presenting Partner for the Paralympic Hall of Fame (PHF) induction ceremony to be held in Whistler, B.C. on 14 March at 09.30 a.m. at the Paralympic Hospitality Centre, in conjunction with the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The induction ceremonies will feature the third group of Paralympic athletes to be inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

The IPC has selected three Paralympic greats for induction in 2010.  They are cross-country skier Tanja Kari (FIN), alpine skier Chris Waddell, (USA), and biathlon and cross-country skiing coach Rolf Hettich (GER). The three inductees were nominated by member organizations of the IPC based on their athletic performance, history of fair play and participation in community service.  Kari, Waddell and Hettich then were selected by the IPC's Governing Board.

"Visa is again proud to be the presenting sponsor of this unique celebration honoring the achievements and spirit of Paralympic athletes and their coaches," said Antonio Lucio, Chief Marketing Officer, Visa Inc. "As the partner of the Paralympic Hall of Fame, we understand the power of the Paralympic movement and its exceptional ability to bring people, communities and nations together in peaceful sports competition. This sponsorship reaffirms Visa's commitment to the Paralympic Movement and to Paralympic athletes of the past, present and future."

The Paralympic Hall of Fame ensures that a permanent record and institutional memory is kept of top Paralympic athletes and coaches of all time, thus honouring the performers who achieved a high and sustained level of success in the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games.

"The IPC is proud to induct Chris Waddell, Tanja Kari and Rolf Hettich into the Visa Paralympic Hall of Fame. It is a thrill to be recognizing these three individuals and I congratulate their outstanding achievements on and off the field of play," said Sir Philip Craven, IPC President. "The Paralympic Hall of Fame not only celebrates excellence in competition, but it offers young athletes a positive role model to look up to in their future endeavours in Paralympic Sport. The IPC thanks Visa for their continiued support and commitment."

In order to be eligible, athletes and coaches must have achieved a very high and sustained level of success at the Paralympic Games. They must also have consistently displayed a spirit of fair play, and made a positive contribution to the Paralympic Movement. They must have ceased their participation in Paralympic sporting competition for at least four years (one Paralympic Games cycle).

Paralympic Hall of Fame election and induction ceremonies are held in conjunction with the Paralympic Summer and Winter Games, and consequently take place only during those years in which the Paralympic Games are held. The Paralympic Hall of Fame currently exists as a virtual Hall of Fame on the IPC Website at http://www.paralympic.org/hof/main.html.

Previous Paralympic Hall of Fame inductees on the website are:

2006 - Annemie Schneider (Germany) - Alpine Skiing; Jouko Grip (Finland) - Nordic Skiing; and Ulla Renvall (Sweden) - Nordic Skiing (Coach and Guide).

2008 - Connie Hansen (Denmark) - Athletics; Claudia Hengst (Germany) - Swimming; Peter Homann (Australia) - Cycling; André Viger (Canada) - Athletics; and Kevin McIntosh (Australia) - Cycling

Visa has been a Worldwide Paralympic Partner and sponsor of the Paralympic Games since 2002 and recently extended its Paralympic Games sponsorship through 2012.  Visa also is a worldwide sponsor of the Olympic Games and the exclusive payment card and official payment service for the Olympic Games and through 2020.

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