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André Viger passes away
Date: October 04, 2006

October 2nd 2006. OTTAWA

Jean Laroche, Athletics Canada Paralympic Head Coach, and André’s coach for many years comments on the passing of an outstanding athlete; "André opened a lot of doors and eyes to wheelchair athletics, he had a resiliency to succeed like no other I’ve seen before. André saw obstacles as another reason to persevere and used them to motivate himself." Laroche adds, "What I will keep from him was his ability to re-evaluate his position when facing a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, then realign and press on until success was reached. To the point where, at times, you had to hold him back instead of help him along." Laroche sums up Viger’s impact on the people he touched and the sport, "André will always be in our thoughts, he accomplished way too much to be forgotten."

Other highlights include being made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1987. In 1989 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada with the Governor General of Canada website listing that Viger "is a source of encouragement for young athletes and a role model for young people everywhere". André was the first athlete honoured in the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in 1993. On November 11th 2005 he was inducted into the Paralympic Hall of Fame in the athlete category.

More importantly André was one of the first athletes to promote the Movement and the challenges faced by Paralympic athletes. To this end, Viger was the honorary President of the Fondation André Viger whose mission is to promote wheelchair racing in Québec. His determination to increase services for people with disabilities was also expressed through his company (La Maison André Viger) which designs, builds and markets specialized equipment for the persons with a disability.

For more information:
Mathieu Gentès
Marketing and Communications Manager
Athletics Canada
(613) 260-5580 ext. 3303

Athletics Canada would like to offer its sincere sympathies to the family and friends of highly decorated athlete André Viger. Viger who grew up in Sherbrooke, Que., passed away on the weekend after a lengthy battle with cancer. Born September 27th 1952 in Windsor, Ont., Viger’s impressive athletic career as a track and road wheelchair racer includes taking part in five Paralympic Games winning three gold, four silver and three bronze medals. He also won a bronze medal in the demonstration 1 500-metres at the 1984 Olympic Games. André’s career spanned many decades, first as an athlete followed by his role as an ambassador and strong promoter of the Paralympic movement.