Michelle Stilwell

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The Honourable
Michelle Stilwell
MLA for Parksville-Qualicum
Assumed office
June 2013
Preceded by Ron Cantelon
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation of British Columbia
Assumed office
Feb 2, 2015
Premier Christy Clark
Preceded by Don McRae
Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living and Seniors
In office
June 2013 – Feb 2, 2015
Premier Christy Clark
Personal details
Born (1974-07-04) 4 July 1974 (age 41)
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Political party Liberal
Residence Parksville, British Columbia
Michelle Stilwell
Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Paralympic Games
Women's basketball
Gold medal – first place 2000 Sydney Wheelchair Basketball
Women's athletics
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing 100m T52
Gold medal – first place 2008 Beijing 200m T52
Gold medal – first place 2012 London 200m T52
Silver medal – second place 2012 London 100m T52
Parapan American Games
Gold medal – first place 2015 Toronto 100 m T52

Michelle Stilwell (born July 4, 1974 in Winnipeg, Manitoba) is a Canadian wheelchair racer and politician. She is the only female Paralympic athlete to have ever won gold in two separate summer sport events. Stilwell was elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia as a BC Liberal candidate for Parksville-Qualicum in the 2013 provincial election.[1]

After serving as Caucus Chair and Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living and Seniors, Stilwell was sworn in on February 2, 2015 as Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation.[2]

In Sydney, during the 2000 Paralympic Games, she and her team won Gold in wheelchair basketball.[3] by beating Australia in the final 46-27. At the time, she was the only female paraplegic to compete in Basketball at the Paralympic Games. In Beijing, during the 2008 Paralympic Games, she won two gold medals in the woman's T52 200m[4] and 100m[5] events.

At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Stilwell defended her Paralympic gold medal in the women’s 200m in 33.80 seconds,[6] shattering her Games record by over two seconds. Four days later, Stilwell captured a silver medal in the 100m.

She currently holds the world record in the 100m at 18.67,[7] the 200m at 33.58,[8] and the 800m at 2:14.79 in the T52 class.[9]


Stilwell, whose father is from Stuttgart, Germany and mother from the small community of Ashern, Manitoba, in Manitoba's Interlake region, was injured while piggy back riding on a friend at the age of 17, she fell down a flight of stairs and broke her neck.[10] Multiple surgeries and complications (Osteomyelitis[citation needed] and acquired Arnold–Chiari malformation[11]) arose from the fall leaving her an incomplete C7 quadriplegic. She grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and attended River East Collegiate before her first years at the University of Winnipeg. She moved to Calgary where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Calgary.

Prior to being elected to the Legislative Assembly, Michelle was a motivational speaker and community advocate for persons with disabilities and children with special needs. Michelle is also an ambassador for ActNow BC and the Rick Hansen Foundation, and has worked on the B.C. government’s 10 by 10 Challenge to increase employment of persons with disabilities.

She represented Canada at the Sydney 2000 Summer Paralympics, where she won gold in wheelchair basketball. After her retirement from basketball competition in 2001 she became involved in coaching young wheelchair athletes, became pregnant and gave birth to her son Kai in July 2001.

In 2004 while coaching basketball she met Peter Lawless, a National Team Athletics coach, who encouraged her to try a different sport. By 2005 she was at the European Championships, and in 2006 a 200m World Champion at Assen, Netherlands.

She attained greater success on the track winning gold in the 100m and 200m at the Beijing 2008 Summer Paralympics. This was followed by 3 gold (with World Championship records) and one Silver at the 2011 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.


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