Premier launches tribute to women athletes 

Premier Gordon Campbell was in Vancouver Monday to unveil a B.C. Sports Hall of Fame exhibit that showcases the achievements of women athletes from B.C.

Called "Celebrating B.C. Women In sport – Leaders and Legends," the exhibit was created to pay tribute to the athletes, while inspiring other young athletes to follow in their footsteps.

"Our province has some of the world’s greatest female athletes, and they are role models not only for young women but for all British Columbians," said Campbell. "The 2010 Olympics will showcase the best of B.C. to the world, and this exhibit is a testimony to the incredible talent and accomplishments of these great athletes."

The exhibit features 31 athletes and teams that were chosen by a committee of sports leaders, including representatives from the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Pacific Sport.

In addition to the exhibit, the premier announced $44,000 in LegaciesNow funding for three women’s sport development projects in the province:

• $10,000 will go towards an athlete mentorship and employment program through the YWCA and Olympians B.C.;

• $22,487 will be used to enhance a B.C. Amateur Hockey Association program for female high performance athletes 18 and under;

• $12,000 will provide new wheelchairs for the B.C. Wheelchair Sports wheelchair loan program.

Over the next few months, a total of $230,000 in 24 separate LegaciesNow grants will go towards various sport development organizations.

The list of athletes featured in the Hall of Fame exhibit include:

Marni Abbott - wheelchair basketball, swimming

B.C. Wheelchair Sport named Marni Abbott the Athlete of the Century. She is a gold medallist in both swimming and wheelchair basketball, and was the Canadian flag-bearer at the Paralympics in Atlanta. Abbott is head coach for the 2003 Team BC wheelchair basketball team.

Silken Laumann - rowing

Ten weeks before the Barcelona Olympics, Silken Laumann's leg was shattered when a boat collided with her during a warmup. Fighting through physical pain and emotions, she returned to win a bronze medal at the Games. She is a four-time Olympian and capped her Olympic career with a silver medal in Atlanta in 1996.

Lynne Beecroft - field hockey

Lynne Beecroft, who grew up in Port Alberni, is a field hockey Olympian and coach. At the University of Victoria she has coached a record nine teams to national university championship titles. She was named Coach of the Year in Victoria in 2002 and Field Hockey Canada Coach of the Year in 2000.

Alison Sydor - mountain biking

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