Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Canadian Bergeron enjoys paralympics glory and life

Though confined to a wheelchair, Canadian Dean Bergeron seems to have nothing to lament over, with his newly-obtained Paralympic gold medal in Beijing a contented life back home.

The 39-old became the focus of the world when he crowned in the men's 200m -T52 race Wednesday at the Beijing Paralympic Games, his last Paralympics.

Before his new win, he already accumulated impressive credits since his athletic career began. He had eight medals from the Paralympics Games, including a gold in the 200m race at the Atalanta Paralympics in 1996.

But the gold in Beijing meant a lot more as he was paying farewell to his Paralympic career.

"I am really very happy about my performance. I was very focused on the competition. This was my first time to compete in this venue and I was a little nervous, but I had a good start," he said.

His near-term goal was expanding his glory in Beijing with three more races to take part in.

"What I think about now is tomorrow's semi-final ," he said.

But in long-run, Bergeron was planning his post-Paralympic life, a life with family being at the center and sport being a valuable complement.

A resident of Quebec City in Canada, Bergeron has worked as an actuary with Desjardins Financial Security, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, the largest integrated cooperative financial group in Canada, since 1994.

His boss, Richard Fortier, President of Desjardins Financial Security, said earlier that Bergeron had "done an incredible job of balancing his careers as an athlete and a financial services professional".

"With courage and determination, he has overcome obstacles as an actuary and an athlete, and emerged as one of the best," said Fortier, who described Bergeron as "a great example of courage, perseverance and determination for his colleagues and the population in general".

Bergeron, who had competed in wheelchair races for 21 years, said after the Beijing Paralympic games, he would continue to work for Desjardins Financial Security. And his focus will shift from sports to his family.

"I have a great family. I want to care of my two children," he said. But sport will also be part of his future life.

"I'm also interested in motorcycling, so I may participate in other sports next year."

"This may be my last Paralympic Games. I hoped to end in a great way and I did that," he said.


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