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Paralympic Games 2016 (Congratulations to Katarina Roxon)

Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize Canadian swimmer and proud Newfoundlander Katarina Roxon, who at the early age of 23 exemplified the spirit of Paralympic competition in the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games 2016.

Katarina was born in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador, on April 5, 1993, and she has made Kippens, Newfoundland, her place of residence. She won the gold medal in the 100-metre breaststroke earlier this month at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Brazil by taking nearly two full seconds off her previous personal best time. She accomplished winning the gold medal in just over one minute and 19 seconds, the best time she has ever accomplished.

Katarina began swimming when she was only five years old. Her parents thought swimming would be a necessary life skill for Katarina's growing up on an island like Newfoundland surrounded by water.

At the early age of 14, Katarina was already a world-class swimmer, winning several medals in various championships. At the 2007 Rio Para Pan-American Games she won a gold medal, two silver medals and one bronze medal.

At the age of 15 she was the youngest Canadian swimmer on the Beijing 2008 Paralympic team. She also competed in numerous other international competitions, such as the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the London 2012 Paralympic Games, the 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as the 2013 and 2015 International Paralympic Committee World Championships.

Katarina had one of the best seasons of her career in 2015 when she won six medals at the Toronto 2015 Para Pan-American Games. She won one gold medal, three silver medals and two bronze medals at that competition.

Also, at the 2015 International Paralympic Committee World Championships, she won a bronze medal in Canadian record time in the 100-metre breaststroke.

Katarina Roxon, a proud Canadian, is hoping to open more doors for youth who want to engage in a sport and have a disability. The Paralympic Games celebrate the ability and remarkable power of the human spirit, and the values of diversity and inclusivity are central values to the lives of people with disabilities.

Honourable senators, join me in celebrating Katarina's great example in recognition of her outstanding personal achievement and her important contribution in support of Canadians living with disabilities.

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