Canada wraps up best-ever Winter Paralympics at Pyeongchang closing ceremony
Para nordic star Mark Arendz carries Canadian flag into ceremony
Para nordic star Mark Arendz carried Canada's flag into the closing ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, as the Canadian contingent celebrated its best-ever Winter Paralympics performance.
Canada set a new national Paralympic record with 28 medals in Pyeongchang, eclipsing the previous best of 19 from the 2010 Games in Vancouver. Canadian Paralympians earned eight gold, four silver and 16 bronze in South Korea.
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Arendz won five individual medals in as many events at the Games and added a cross-country mixed relay silver for his sixth in Pyeongchang.
In his closing remarks, International Paralympic Committee president Andrew Parsons paid tribute to Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned theoretical physicist who died on March 14 and was involved in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Games in London.
"You have once again pushed the limits of human endeavour," Parsons said to the athletes congregated in the stadium before the Paralympic cauldron was extinguished.
The flame goes out, the Paralympic Games are over<br><br>It's been a pleasure! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PyeongChang2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PyeongChang2018</a> <a href="https://t.co/jbsSg7qP9E">https://t.co/jbsSg7qP9E</a> <a href="https://t.co/HvhoNa4tny">pic.twitter.com/HvhoNa4tny</a>—@cbcsports
The ceremony acted as a transition to the next Winter Paralympics in Beijing in 2022. The Paralympic flag inside Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium was lowered and handed over to Beijing mayor Chen Jining, marking the official start of the countdown to the next Winter Games.
Performances at the closing ceremony fused traditional and contemporary Korean music and dance — including a performance from K-pop star Ailee — along with a coordinated display of lights, colours and fireworks.
The Games are over, but the party's not <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Paralympics?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Paralympics</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PyeongChang2018?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PyeongChang2018</a><a href="https://t.co/tNKS75FDkB">https://t.co/tNKS75FDkB</a> <a href="https://t.co/6osigXfrnY">pic.twitter.com/6osigXfrnY</a>—@cbcsports
The IPC also handed out the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award, named for the South Korean doctor who advocated for people with disabilities. Finnish para nordic skier Sini Pyy and New Zealand para alpine skier Adam Hall received the honours at these Games.
Additionally, the IPC honoured Whang for her decades of advocacy, with past recipients of the award — including Canadian para nordic skier Colette Bourgonje — congratulating the South Korean doctor.