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 44)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada[1]
Political partyLiberal
ResidenceParksville, British Columbia[1]
Michelle Stilwell
Personal information
Height170 cm (5 ft 7 in)[1]
Weight51 kg (112 lb)
Disability classT52

Michelle Stilwell (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.[2]

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.[3]

In Sydney, during the 2000 Paralympic Games, she and her team won Gold in wheelchair basketball.[4] 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[5] and 100m events.[6]

At the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Stilwell defended her Paralympic gold medal in the women’s 200m in 33.80 seconds,[7] 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,[8] the 200m at 33.58,[9] and the 800m at 2:14.79 in the T52 class.[10]


Stilwell's father is from Stuttgart, Germany and mother from the small community of Ashern, Manitoba, in Manitoba's Interlake region. She was injured while piggy back riding on a friend at the age of 17, when she fell down a flight of stairs and broke her neck.[11] Multiple surgeries and complications (Osteomyelitis[citation needed] and acquired Arnold–Chiari malformation[12]) 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 competitions 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.

Stilwell attained greater success on the track winning gold in the 100m and 200m at the Beijing 2008 Summer Paralympics. This was followed by three gold medals (with World Championship records) and one silver at the 2011 World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand. She won the 100m and 400m events at the 2016 Rio Paralympics.[13]

Electoral record[edit]

British Columbia general election, 2017: 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[14]


  1. ^ a b c Michelle Stilwell. paralympic.ca
  2. ^ "Paralympian, former Winnipegger Stilwell wins B.C. seat". Winnipeg Free Press, May 15, 2013.
  3. ^ Rookie MLA tapped for cabinet as social development minister resigns. Vancouversun.com (January 30, 2015). Retrieved on 2016-10-24.
  4. ^ "Sydney 2000 Gold Medal Women's Team". cwba.ca. Retrieved October 21, 2008.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "B.C.'s Stilwell breaks Paralympic record in women's 200". CBC News. September 11, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2008.
  6. ^ "Canadian track star Stilwell takes 2nd Paralympic gold". CBC News. Retrieved October 21, 2008.
  7. ^ "B.C. wheelchair sprinter Michelle Stilwell defends Paralympic title in 200". The Canadian Press. September 1, 2012. Retrieved September 1, 2012.
  8. ^ www.paralympic.org World Records – Women 100m[dead link]
  9. ^ www.paralympic.org World Records – Women 200m[dead link]
  10. ^ www.paralympic.org World Records – Women 800m[dead link]
  11. ^ Official Website – About. Mikeystilwell.com. Retrieved on October 24, 2016.
  12. ^ Gary Kingston (May 31, 2008). "Lonely At The Top". The Vancouver Sun. Archived from the original on October 17, 2015. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Michelle Stilwell. rio2016.com
  14. ^ "2017 Provincial General Election Preliminary Voting Results". Elections BC. Retrieved 11 May 2017.

External links[edit]