Athletes to watch: 5 Ottawa Paralympians in Sochi

From Canada's youngest Paralympian to a 39-year-old skier with her arm, shoulder, collarbone and part of her chest amputated, Ottawa's hopes are high for local athletes at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi.

Local athletes compete in sledge hockey, cross-country skiing and para-snowboarding

Margarita Gorbounova, who is legally blind, has history on her side as she heads to the Paralympics. 2:18

There are five Ottawa-area Paralympians in Sochi to compete in the 2014 Paralympic Games. 

The opening ceremonies are Friday and the Games run until Sunday, March 16. Here are the five local para-athletes heading to Sochi:

Ben Delaney, 17, Ottawa

Ben Delaney, left, gets a pat of support from a teammate. At 17, he is the youngest member of the team. (Courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee)
​Delaney is the youngest Canadian Paralympian in these games. The teenager, who joined the Canadian sledge hockey team in 2013, had his left leg amputated below the knee after he was diagnosed with bone cancer five years ago. 

The former stand-up hockey player wanted to continue his playing career, so he quickly learned how to play sledge hockey.

Caroline Bisson, 39, Ottawa

Biathlete and cross-country skier Caroline Bisson landed in Sochi on Monday. (Matthew Murnaghan/Canadian Paralympic Committee)
​Bisson will race in the biathlon and cross-country skiing in her first Paralympic Games. She was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2009, which led to the amputation of her shoulder, collarbone, arm and part of her chest.

The University of Ottawa graduate, former journalist and current employee with Elections Canada began racing in 2012.

Marc Dorion, 26, Ottawa

Marc Dorion, right, began playing sledge hockey at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario. (Courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee)
​Dorion is playing in his third Paralympic Games for Canada. The University of Ottawa graduate was the youngest player on the team at the 2006 Games in Torino, Italy. Like Delaney, he joined the Canadian sledge hockey team at age 16. 

Dorion was born with spina bifida, which meant his legs were paralyzed.

Margarita Gorbounova, 29, Ottawa

Margarita Gorbounova will compete in four events at the Sochi Paralympics. (CBC)
The Russian-born Paralympian returns to her homeland for her second Games after competing in her adoptive homeland in 2010. Gorbounova’s mother represented Russia in the Paralympic Winter Games in 1992 and her father was a world-class middle distance runner.

The Ottawa native, who will race in biathlon and cross-country skiing, was born with cataracts that made her almost completely blind. Her guide is Ottawa-born athlete, Andrea Bundon, who is also a rower and cross-country skier.

John Leslie, 21, Arnprior, Ont.

John Leslie enters his first Paralympic Games just as his sport, para-snowboarding, also makes its Paralympic debut. (Canadian Paralympic Committee)
The Winnipeg-born athlete will compete in para-snowboarding in his first Paralympics. Leslie, who went to high school in Arnprior just west of Ottawa, won his first World Cup medal in January.

The business student, who trains at Mount Pakenham, is amputated below the knee due to a cancer diagnosis 11 years ago.