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
In office
May 14, 2013 – September 21, 2020
Preceded byRon Cantelon
Succeeded byAdam Walker
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 47)
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]

2020 British Columbia general election: Parksville-Qualicum
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
New Democratic Adam Walker 13,207 42.00 +13.34 $6,991.73
Liberal Michelle Stilwell 11,155 35.47 −9.66 $45,718.10
Green Rob Lyon 5,227 16.62 −8.82 $2,772.94
Conservative Don Purdey 1,404 4.46 $1,413.44
Independent John St John 454 1.44 $0.00
Total valid votes 31,447 100.00
Total rejected ballots    
Registered voters
Source: Elections BC[17][18]
2017 British Columbia general election: Parksville-Qualicum
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Michelle Stilwell 13,604 45.13 −5.00 $53,948
New Democratic Sue Powell 9,189 28.66 −8.40 $44,326
Green Glenn Sollitt 8,157 25.44 $10,490
Refederation Terry Hand 245 0.77 $0
Total valid votes 32,059 100.00
Total rejected ballots 159 0.49 −0.15
Turnout 32,218 70.21 +2.27
Registered voters 45,891
Source: Elections BC[19][20]
2013 British Columbia general election: Parksville-Qualicum
Party Candidate Votes %
Liberal Michelle Stilwell 14518 50.13
New Democratic Barry Avis 10732 37.06
Conservative David Bernard Coupland 3710 12.81
Total valid votes 28960 100.00
Total rejected ballots 186 0.64
Turnout 29146 67.94
Source: Elections BC[21]


  1. ^ a b c d "Michelle Stilwell". paralympic.ca. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Meet the 5 Paralympic athletes with ties to Manitoba". cbc.ca. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b Prest, Ashley (30 September 2008). "A Gift More Precious Than Gold". Winnipeg Free Press. Manitoba.Free to read
  4. ^ Vancouver Sun (31 May 2008). "Lonely at the Top". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 17 October 2015. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  5. ^ a b "Canadian Paralympian Michelle Stilwell's toughest competition is herself". National Post. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Winnipeg-born athlete continues to overcome adversity". themanitoban.com. 3 March 2020. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  7. ^ "Canadian track star Stilwell takes 2nd Paralympic gold". cbc.ca. 15 September 2008. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  8. ^ Clarke, James (10 February 2011). "Mikey returns with a handful of gold, silver". Parksville Qualicum Beach News. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Canada's Michelle Stilwell defends Paralympic title in T52 200-metre final". National Post. 1 September 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  10. ^ Kingston, Gary (5 September 2012). "Canada's Michelle Stilwell sees silver lining in Paralympic wheelchair race result". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  11. ^ Kingston, Gary (25 July 2013). "MLA Michelle Stilwell sets world wheelchair record". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  12. ^ Dheensaw, Cleve (10 September 2016). "Michelle Stilwell wins 5th gold: 'It was the moment I was working for'". Times Colonist. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  13. ^ "Michelle Stilwell announces retirement". athletics.ca. 8 February 2017. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  14. ^ "Former Wheelchair Basketball Athlete Michelle Stilwell and Coach Tim Frick To Be Inducted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame". wheelchairbasketball.ca. 13 December 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  15. ^ Mason, Gary (23 April 2013). "Paralympic champ turned B.C. politician faces her toughest race yet". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  16. ^ Shaw, Rob (30 January 2015). "Rookie MLA tapped for cabinet as social development minister resigns". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  17. ^ "2020 Provincial General Election Final Voting Results". electionsbcenr.blob.core.windows.net. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Election Financing Reports". Elections BC. Retrieved 4 February 2021.
  19. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election - Statement of Votes" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved 16 January 2021.
  20. ^ "Election Financing Reports". Elections BC. Retrieved 12 September 2020.
  21. ^ "Statement of Votes - 40th Provincial General Election" (PDF). Elections BC. Retrieved 17 May 2017.

External links[edit]