Michelle Stilwell

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Michelle Stilwell

Michelle Stilwell 2015b.jpg
Stilwell at the 2015 Parapan American Games
Member of the British Columbia Legislative Assembly
for Parksville-Qualicum
Assumed office
May 14, 2013
Preceded byRon Cantelon
Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation of British Columbia
In office
February 2, 2015 – July 18, 2017
PremierChristy Clark
Preceded byDon McRae
Succeeded byShane Simpson
Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living and Seniors
In office
June 2013 – February 2, 2015
PremierChristy Clark
Personal details
Born (1974-07-04) July 4, 1974 (age 45)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Mark Stilwell (m. 1997)
ResidenceParksville, British Columbia[1]
Sports career
Personal information
Height170 cm (5 ft 7 in)[1]
Weight51 kg (112 lb)
Disability classT52

Michelle Stilwell (nee Bauknecht; born July 4, 1974) is a Canadian wheelchair racer and politician. She is the only female Paralympic athlete to win gold medals 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. She represented Canada at the 2000 Summer Paralympics, 2008 Summer Paralympics, and 2012 Summer Paralympics.

Early life and education[edit]

Stilwell was born on July 4, 1974, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[1] While attending River East Collegiate, she broke her neck from a fall and became an incomplete quadriplegic.[2] After the accident, she competed in wheelchair basketball, through which she met her husband Mark at the 1996 National Championships in Montreal.[3] Stilwell eventually moved to Calgary where she completed her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Calgary in 1999.[1]

Paralympic career[edit]

Stilwell at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships

Stilwell stayed in Calgary from 1997 until 2000 to train for the Canada women's national wheelchair basketball team.[3] She competed as a reserve for Team Canada at the 2000 Paralympic Games, where her team won a gold medal.[4] Afterwards, Stilwell, her husband Mark, and their newborn son moved to Vancouver Island.[5]

However, Stilwell was forced to forgo wheelchair basketball after undergoing surgery for a herniated brain stem.[6] Although was unable to compete at a national level, Stilwell continued to play basketball locally where she was spotted by Coach Peter Lawless, who convinced her to try for wheelchair racing.[5] Stilwell qualified for the 2008 Paralympic Games where she won two gold medals in the woman's T52 200m and 100m events.[7] This was followed by three gold medals (with World Championship records) and one silver at the 2011 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand.[8]

At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Stilwell defended her Paralympic gold medal in the women's 200m in 33.80 seconds, shattering her Games record by over two seconds.[9] Four days later, Stilwell captured a silver medal in the 100m after mishap caused her to fall behind Marieke Vervoort.[10] The following year, she competed in the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships and set a new world record in the women's T52 class 800 metres.[11]

In 2016, her last Paralympic Games, Stilwell earned a gold medal while also setting a Paralympics record during the T52 wheelchair 400 metres race, with a time of one minute and 5.42 seconds.[12] The following year, Stilwell announced her retirement from competitive sports[13] and was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.[14]

Political career[edit]

In 2013, Stilwell campaigned to become the BC Liberal candidate for Parksville-Qualicum in the 2013 provincial election.[15] She was eventually elected to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia served as Caucus Chair and Parliamentary Secretary for Healthy Living and Seniors for two years before being sworn in as Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation.[16]

Electoral record[edit]

2017 British Columbia general election: Parksville-Qualicum
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Michelle Stilwell 13,605 45.37
New Democratic Sue Powell 8,476 28.26
Green Glenn Sollitt 7,671 25.58
Refederation Terry Hand 236 0.79
Total valid votes 29,988 100.00
Source: Elections BC[17]


  1. ^ a b c d "Michelle Stilwell". paralympic.ca. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  2. ^ "Meet the 5 Paralympic athletes with ties to Manitoba". cbc.ca. September 5, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  3. ^ a b Prest, Ashley (September 30, 2008). "A Gift More Precious Than Gold". Winnipeg Free Press. Manitoba.Free to read
  4. ^ "Lonely at the Top". Vancouver Sun. May 31, 2008. Archived from the original on December 30, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Canadian Paralympian Michelle Stilwell's toughest competition is herself". National Post. August 28, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  6. ^ "Winnipeg-born athlete continues to overcome adversity". themanitoban.com. March 3, 2020. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  7. ^ "Canadian track star Stilwell takes 2nd Paralympic gold". cbc.ca. September 15, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  8. ^ Clarke, James (February 10, 2011). "Mikey returns with a handful of gold, silver". Parksville Qualicum Beach News. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  9. ^ "Canada's Michelle Stilwell defends Paralympic title in T52 200-metre final". National Post. September 1, 2012. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  10. ^ Kingston, Gary (September 5, 2012). "Canada's Michelle Stilwell sees silver lining in Paralympic wheelchair race result". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  11. ^ Kingston, Gary (July 25, 2013). "MLA Michelle Stilwell sets world wheelchair record". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  12. ^ Dheensaw, Cleve (September 10, 2016). "Michelle Stilwell wins 5th gold: 'It was the moment I was working for'". Times Colonist. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  13. ^ "Michelle Stilwell announces retirement". athletics.ca. February 8, 2017. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  14. ^ "Former Wheelchair Basketball Athlete Michelle Stilwell and Coach Tim Frick To Be Inducted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame". wheelchairbasketball.ca. December 13, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  15. ^ Mason, Gary (April 23, 2013). "Paralympic champ turned B.C. politician faces her toughest race yet". Globe and Mail. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  16. ^ Shaw, Rob (January 30, 2015). "Rookie MLA tapped for cabinet as social development minister resigns". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
  17. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election Preliminary Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved May 11, 2017.

External links[edit]