Michelle Stilwell’s love and passion for sports began in Winnipeg, where she was born.
From there, after suffering an accident at the age of 17 that left her a quadriplegic, Stilwell continued to be deeply involved in sports and eventually became Canada’s most-decorated Paralympian, winning gold medals in two different disciplines — wheelchair basketball and wheelchair racing.
Stilwell’s achievements are being recognized where it all began. She will be one of seven people and a team being inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame, at its 40th Anniversary Induction Ceremonies and Dinner on Nov. 2.
“It is an incredible honour to be recognized by my home province for my achievements in sport,” said Stilwell. “My love of sport began in Manitoba at a young age and was nurtured by countless people and organizations. I am so thankful to everyone who has had a hand in shaping my success as an athlete and Paralympian.”
Stilwell has won six gold medals — one in basketball and five in track — at three different Paralympic Games in Beijing (2000), London (2012) and Rio (2016). She is a world-record holder in the T52 100 and 200-metre events. She was also previously inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame.
Stilwell is now retired from sport and is currently the MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. She continues to be a strong advocate for healthy, active living and sport. She has been a champion for KidSport, which helps young people overcome financial barriers so they can participate in organized sport. She also sits on the International Paralympic Committee’s Audit and Finance Committee.
The other Manitoba Hall of Fame inductees named include athletes Charles Baksh (cricket), Susanne Dandenault (athletics, weightlifting), and Jon Montgomery (skeleton); and builders Don Hornby (rowing); Maureen Orchard (basketball, wheelchair basketball) and Hector Vergara (soccer). The team being inducted is the Brandon University Bobcats dynasty basketball team (1987-89).
— NEWS Staff, Submitted