1987: Rick Hansen completes his Man in Motion tour
They said it couldn't be done, but Rick Hansen defied all the odds. The long, gruelling hours. Bitter cold and oppressive humidity. The numbing pain that shot through his arms and shoulders at the end of the day. But nothing stopped Hansen as he circled the world in his wheelchair for over two years to raise awareness and money for spinal cord research. And even when the tour was over he kept going, a man in perpetual motion.
• Hansen went on to excel in wheelchair sports. In 1983, he placed second in the wheelchair division at the 1983 Boston Marathon, and he also won titles in wheelchair basketball and volleyball.
• Inspired by his friend Terry Fox, whose 1980 Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research, Hansen launched his own fundraising event in 1985 - the Man in Motion World Tour.
• Hansen's journey began from a Vancouver shopping mall in March 1985. His goal was to raise $10 million for spinal-cord research and raise public awareness about people with disabilities.
• From the outset, Hansen's target was to wheel through nations around the globe and reach a total of 40,073 kilometres - the equivalent of the earth's circumference.
• The tour took Hansen to 34 countries on four continents. He wheeled on the Great Wall of China and met Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
• In August 1986, he landed back in Canada, taking off from Cape Spear, N.L., and continuing across the country.
• Hansen was the subject of a song, Man in Motion, written by Canadian composer David Foster for the movie St. Elmo's Fire. The song went on to become the theme for Hansen's tour.
• The tour lasted 792 days - two years, two months and two days. Hansen wheeled an average of 50 to 70 kilometres every day.
• While on the road, Hansen wrote 2,172 postcards, wore out 160 wheelchair tires and 94 gloves, and was robbed four times.
• The Man In Motion World Tour raised $26 million, far exceeding the $10 million that Hansen had originally wanted to raise.
• By 2006, the Man in Motion Foundation had raised more than $178 million for spinal cord injury programs and initiatives.
• Hansen married his physiotherapist, Amanda Reid, in October 1987. They have three daughters.
• Hansen was made a companion of the Order of Canada in 1987 and received the Order of British Columbia in 1990.
• In 2003, Hansen launched Wheels in Motion, an annual walk/run/wheel event in which people in towns and cities across Canada raise money for people with spinal cord injuries.
Also on May 22:
1611: The first Jesuits arrived at Port Royal in New France.
1893: The Montreal Amateur Athletic Association beats the visiting Ottawa Generals 2-1 in the first Stanley Cup game.
1963: A NATO ministerial conference in Ottawa approves in principle the formation of a nuclear strike force under NATO direction.
1979: The Progressive Conservatives under Joe Clark win a federal election, ending the 11-year tenure of Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau.
1990: Environment Minister Lucien Bouchard quits the Progressive Conservative caucus. He later forms the separatist Bloc Québécois, then serves as premier under the Parti Québécois from 1996 until 2001.
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: May 22, 1987
Host: Knowlton Nash
Reporter: Jane Chalmers
Last updated: January 31, 2012
Page consulted on October 2, 2014
All Clips from this Topic
Thousands of Canadians take to the streets as part of the first annual...
Hansen reveals his plans to wheel around the world to raise money for ...
Hansen's Man in Motion Tour takes him to Spain.
Hansen counts meeting Pope John Paul II in Rome as the highlight of th...
Hansen's Man in the Motion Tour has him visit Australia.
Hansen's Man in Motion Tour takes him to China.
Hansen visits the U.S. capital during his Man In Motion Tour.
The National examines the corporate sponsorship that keeps the wheels ...
The town of Truro, N.S., rolls out the red carpet for Rick Hansen.
Hansen's Man In Motion Tour arrives in Montreal, Quebec.
Hansen stops in the nation's capital during his Man In Motion Tour.
A growing number of disabled people are outraged over the Man In Motio...
Hansen talks about his autobiography after the Man In Motion Tour.
The Man In Motion tries to stump the panel on Front Page Challenge.
The Order of Canada is awarded to Hansen in 1988.
Canada's Queen of Chat goes one-on-one with the Man In Motion.
Fifteen years after the Man In Motion World Tour ended, Rick Hansen se...
They said it couldn't be done, but Rick Hansen defied all the odds. Th...
After a two-year, 34-country journey, wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen m...