Sports

Wheelchair athlete Andre Viger dies from cancer

Pioneering wheelchair athlete Andre Viger died over the weekend following a battle with cancer. He turned 54 last Wednesday.

Pioneering wheelchair athlete Andre Viger died over the weekend following a battle with cancer. He turned 54 last Wednesday.

When he was 20, Viger was involved in a traffic accident that left him without the use of his legs. He began a rigorous training program not long after and launched his career as a long-distance wheelchair athlete in the 1980s.

Viger participated in every edition of the Paralympic Gamesbetween 1984 and 1996, winning two gold medals, two silvers and one bronze.

He also won the wheelchair division of the prestigious Boston Marathon on three separate occasions, in 1984, 1986 and 1987.

Viger's success is considered to have paved the way for other Paralympic athletes, including Diane Roy and Chantal Petitclerc.

Viger was made an officer of the Order of Canada in 1989 and a knight of the National Order of Quebec in 1987.

Following his career in sports, Viger opened a business specializing in wheelchairs. He is considered one of the innovators behind the three-wheel wheelchair.

Viger was born in Windsor, Ont., in 1952, but grew up in Sherbrooke, Que.

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