Beijing, China - As the Opening Ceremony for the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games concluded, members of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) and the City of Vancouver offered the following personal impressions on the evening's incredible event (all were in attendance):
Sam Sullivan, Mayor of Vancouver
"Tonight's Opening Ceremony for the 2008 Paralympic Summer Games was an electrifying tribute to the athletes that have gathered in Beijing from around the globe. These Games mark a turning point for China and the movement toward more inclusion for people with disabilities. It was an honour to be here to represent Vancouver and Canada. In 2010 we will maintain the momentum these Games have generated. We will have an opportunity to showcase Vancouver as the most accessible city in the world."
John Furlong, Chief Executive Officer, VANOC
"This was a magnificent, moving, human experience that no one will ever forget. Beijing did it again. What a performance. Being here has only emboldened our excitement to host and cheer on these world-class athletes when the Games come to Canada in 2010.
"Congratulations to the athletes soon to compete in the Games, and to the Organizing Committee and the people of China for showcasing excellence in sport at the highest level, on such a spectacular scale."
Dena Coward, Director, Paralympic Games, VANOC
"Tonight's inspirational Opening Ceremony does more than present these amazing athletes to the world. It marks the beginning of competition that will open the eyes of the world to athleticism of the highest standard and the uncompromising determination all athletes have -- regardless of ability."
The Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games take place from September 6 to 17, 2008. The Opening of the Beijing 2008 Paralympic Games coincides with 524 days to the Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, and 552 days to the Opening Ceremony for the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.