September 11, 2008
Victoria swimmer Dixon
wins 2nd Paralympic medal
Canadian swimmer Stephanie Dixon earned her second
medal of the Paralympics following a silver-medal performance
in the women's SM9 200-metre individual medley on Thursday in
The Victoria resident touched the wall in two minutes 37.54 seconds,
finishing 9.71 seconds behind South Africa's Natalie du Toit,
who won her third gold medal of the Beijing Games. Du Toit shaved
2.09 seconds off her own world record.
Germany's Louise Watkin finished third in 2:40.31, while Brittany
Gray of Barrie, Ont., placed sixth in 2:45.49.
Dixon, 24, a bronze medallist in the 100-metre freestyle earlier
in the week, knocked three seconds off her personal-best time
"To me the medals are awesome but it all comes down to what
you had to do to get them and what kind of courage you had to
pull out of yourself," said Dixon.
"If every single time there is someone right there fighting
you, then you're going to have to pull a little bit extra strength,
a little extra courage. When you get to show those things, for
sure it means a whole lot more."
Paralympics no longer 'black sheep': Tildesley
Dixon has been one of the most successful international swimmers
ever at the Paralympics.
Over the two previous Games, she has won a total 13 medals, including
Born without a right leg and hip, she began competing against
able-bodied athletes at 13, and made Canada's national team for
swimmers with a disability a year later.
"The last two Games I've watched how the Paralympics have
expanded and created more depth," said Dixon. "Each
race means so much more when you have a whole bunch of people
to race neck-and-neck against.
"Back in Sydney [in 2000], our class wasn't as powerful
as it is now. Now everybody has to fight for every single last
[hundredths] of a second."
Du Toit, 24, praised Dixon's longevity at the Paralympics.
"Before I came along, she was winning all the gold medals,"
said du Toit, who lost her left leg in a 2001 motorbike accident.
"She's still there, she is still hanging on. She's taking
off so many seconds of her time. She really does keep me going."
Canada won two other medals in the pool Thursday.
Vancouver's Donovan Tildesley, Canada's flag-bearer during the
opening ceremony, took a bronze medal in the men's S11 400 freestyle.
Montreal's Benoit Huot also collected a bronze in the men's SM10
Tildesley said winning a medal at the Paralympics is getting
"The world is stepping it up," he said. "It's
great to see Paralympic sport being brought to another level.
I think this is a wakeup call for the general public that the
Paralympics are no longer the black sheep of the family, the long-distance
second cousin to the Olympics."