Rick Hansen: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Rick Hansen

Hansen in August 2008
Born 26 August 1957 (1957-08-26) (age 52)
Port Alberni, British Columbia

Richard M. Hansen, CC, OBC (born 26 August 1957) is a Canadian paraplegic athlete and activist for people with spinal cord injuries. Following a car crash at the age of 15, Hansen sustained a spinal cord injury that paralyzed him from the waist down. Hansen is most famous for his Man In Motion World Tour. He was one of the torchbearers and brought the flame into the stadium to light one of the final torch lighters in the 2010 Winter Olympics.[1]


Early life

Medal record
Competitor for  Canada
Paralympic Games
Gold 1980 Arnhem 800 m 4
Gold 1984 Stoke Mandeville 1500 m 4
Gold 1984 Stoke Mandeville Marathon 4
Silver 1980 Arnhem 1500 m 4
Silver 1984 Stoke Mandeville 5000 m 4
Bronze 1980 Arnhem 4×100 m relay 2–5

Born in Port Alberni, British Columbia, Rick Hansen grew up in Williams Lake, British Columbia. As a young athlete, he had won all-star awards in five sports when he was paralyzed at the age of 15 from being in the back of a truck when it crashed into another car. He worked on rehabilitation, completed high school, then became the first student with a physical disability to graduate in physical education from the University of British Columbia. Hansen won national championships on wheelchair volleyball and wheelchair basketball teams. He went on to become a world class champion wheelchair marathoner and Paralympic athlete. He competed in wheelchair racing at both the 1980 and 1984 Summer Paralympics, winning a total of three gold, two silver, and one bronze medal.[2] Hansen won 19 international wheelchair marathons, including three world championships. He also coached high school basketball and volleyball. Rick had a very close relationship with his family, especially with his father and grandfather, with whom he enjoyed frequent fishing trips.

Man In Motion World Tour

Rick Hansen's statue, in honour of his Man In Motion World Tour, at GM Place

In 1980, fellow British Columbian and Canadian athlete Terry Fox, who had lost a leg to bone cancer, undertook the Marathon of Hope, intending to run across Canada from Newfoundland to Vancouver Island to raise awareness for cancer research. He made it from St. John's, Newfoundland, to Thunder Bay, Ontario, before a cancer recurrence forced him to stop, about two-thirds of the way through his journey. Inspired by Terry's courage, Hansen decided to undertake a similar journey for spinal cord injury research. But his planned path was far more ambitious: he planned to circle the world in his wheelchair.

In UBC Biomechanics Lab, preparing for tour

He embarked on his Man in Motion World Tour on 20 March 1985 from Oakridge Mall in Vancouver. Although public attention was low at the beginning of the tour, he soon attracted international media attention as he progressed on a 26-month trek, logging over 40,000 km through 34 countries on four continents before crossing Canada. He returned to Vancouver's BC Place Stadium to cheering crowds of thousands on 22 May 1987 after raising $26 million for spinal cord research and quality of life initiatives. Like Terry Fox, he was hailed as a national hero. That was when he started his crossing of Canada.

Today, the wheelchair and many other items associated with the Man In Motion World Tour are preserved by the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. The song "St. Elmo's Fire (Man in Motion)" was written in his honor by fellow British Columbian David Foster and British musician John Parr and performed by Parr for the soundtrack of the film St. Elmo's Fire. It reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Heart of a Dragon [1] is the soon to be released film based on Hansen's Man in Motion Tour. Over twenty years ago, Michael French flew with a film crew from Vancouver, British Columbia to Beijing and documented Hansen's entrance into Beijing with over 1 million Chinese heralding his arrival as a hero.

Post-tour career & personal

Hansen carries the Olympic flame into BC Place Stadium during the 2010 Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
Hansen speaks to the crowd at the BC Place Stadium during the 2010 Winter Paralympics opening ceremony.

Hansen is currently president and CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation, which has generated more than $200 million for spinal cord injury related programs and initiatives.

Hansen was noted as "the driving force" in the development of the $48 million International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (iCORD), a new spinal cord facility. His foundation donated the final $8 million needed to complete the centre, expected to open in 2008 at Vancouver General Hospital. iCORD will house an old information network designed to track and record "best practices" in spinal cord treatment across the country and internationally, as well as the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, allowing doctors and experts across the country to share vital information on what works and what doesn't for specific kinds of spinal cord injuries. [3]

The Blusson Spinal Cord Centre is fully accessible, with no need to display the wheelchair disability sign, and integrates research with care. The centre is home to the Brenda and David McLean Integrated Spine Clinic, which provides one-stop outpatient care for people with spinal cord injuries or diseases of the spine. Rick Hansen Foundation programs including the Spinal Cord Injuries Solutions Network and the Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion and Ambassador programs are also located in the centre.

The Province has previously contributed $17.25 million to spinal cord injury research and quality of life – $2.25 million to the B.C. Leadership Chair in Spinal Cord Research at the Rick Hansen Institute at UBC and $15 million to the Rick Hansen Foundation in support of its ongoing work to help improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries.

Rick has served as chair of both the Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society and the Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society, helping to restore and protect sturgeon and salmon populations in British Columbia.

Hansen earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Education in 1986 from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Hansen married Amanda Reid, his former physiotherapist. They have three daughters: Emma, Alana, and Rebecca, and live in Richmond, British Columbia.

Professional background

  • President and CEO, Rick Hansen Foundation (1997 - Present)
  • National Fellow, Rick Hansen National Fellow Programme, University of British Columbia (1990 - Present)
  • Consultant on Disability Issues to the President University of British Columbia (1989 - 1991)
  • Commissioner General to Canada Pavilion at World Exposition '88 in Brisbane, Australia (1987- 1988)


  • Member, Living Rivers Trust Fund Advisory Board (2005 - Present)
  • Interim Chair, Pacific Salmon Endowment Fund Society (2000 - Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Rick Hansen Institute (1997- Present)
  • Chair, Fraser River Sturgeon Conservation Society (1996 - Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Rick Hansen Foundation (1993 - 1999)
  • Member, Board of Trustees, Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation (1992 - 2000)
  • International Advisory Committee for Globe '92, Congress and Exposition on the Environment (1991 - 1992)
  • Chair, International Committee on Integration of Disabled Athletes (Renamed: Commission for the Inclusion of Athletes with Disabilities) (1990 - Present)
  • Chair, Advisory Committee of the Disability Resource Centre, University of British Columbia (1990 - 1997)
  • Chair, Independence 92 - International Congress and Exposition on Disability, Vancouver, British Columbia (1990 - 1992)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Nike Canada (1989 - 2004)
  • Partner/Advisor, National Access Awareness Week, Canada (1989 - 1999)
  • International Advisory Committee for Globe '90, Congress and Exposition on the Environment (1989 - 1990)
  • Member, Board of Governors, 1994 Commonwealth Games, Victoria (1989 - 1994)
  • Advisory Panel, Man In Motion Legacy Trust Fund (1987 - Present)
  • Member, Board of Directors, Man In Motion World Tour Society (1987 - 1992)
  • Member, Board of Directors (Honorary), Man In Motion World Tour (1986 - 1987)

Awards and honours

Honorary Appointments

  • Honorary Director, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (2002)
  • Honorary Board member, Think First Foundation (1998 - 2000)
  • Honorary Chair, Brain and Spinal Cord Research Centre Campaign, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia (1995)
  • Honorary Patron, B.C. Aboriginal Network on Disability Society (1995 - Present)
  • Honorary Chair, Grey Cup Festival (1994)
  • Honorary Chair, Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability (1990 - Present)
  • Honorary Chair, Alberta Premier's Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities (1989 - Present)
  • Honorary Chair, BC Premier's Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities (1989 - Present)

Rick was named Commissioner General for the Canadian Pavilion at Expo '88 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. In 1986, a township in Sudbury District, Ontario, previously named the Geographical Township of Stalin, altered its name to the Township of Hansen in the athlete's honour. It is now within the boundary of the municipality of Killarney.


Hansen is the co-author of two books: the autobiographical Rick Hansen: Man in Motion, written with Jim Taylor (published in 1987, ISBN 0-88894-560-4), and the self-help book Going the Distance: 7 steps to personal change, written with Dr. Joan Laub.


External links


Simple English

Rick Hansen (August 26, 1957) is a Canadian athlete and activist. He was paralyzed in an accident at the age of 15. Inspired by his friend Terry Fox, who tried to run across Canada after losing a leg to cancer, he set out on a trip to travel around the world, in his wheelchair; it was called the Man in Motion tour. The money he raised from that tour went to help spinal cord injury research and parapelgic sports. He still works and does charity to raise money & awareness.

Other websites


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address