Honouring our hometown heroes Maple ridge celebrated its three latest hometown heroes with standing ovations on tuesday night at the meadow ridge golf course. And jennifer mckenzie, who were both at the paralympics this summer, signed their hometown hero posters while kevin mitchell, who played water polo at the olympics in beijing and currently plays professionally in greece, was represented by his older brother ian mitchell.By 16, she was the youngest rider in the north american continental competition, which was held in maple ridge in 1982. In 1983, however, she fell off her horse causing cheap ralph lauren a hemorrhage in her brain stem from which she was not expected to survive.Strong rehabilitation centre.Jennifer was paralyzed on the right side of her body, had double vision and had lost her speech in the accident.Over the years, she regained a lot of her mobility and speech. Tilly muller of the maple ridge pacific riding for the disabled now the north fraser therapeutic riding association encouraged her to get back in the saddle. In the late 1990s, she started riding again and in 2000 was back in competitions.In 2003, she travelled to belgium and was part of a four member team competing in the world dressage championships for riders with a disability.She was also named pacific sport athlete of the year for the fraser valley for 2007/08. In 2008, mckenzie qualified for the paralympics and attended the equestrian portion which took place in hong kong with her horse valentine ii.The canadian team come seventh overall. “I was proud to represent my country and community,”She said. “I have always had a dream of going to the paralympics ever since i was really young,”Stephanie said. “I think i wanted to go even before i became involved in swimming. ” Mcdougall has been swimming with the haney seahorses for 11 years despite suffering from spina bifida and hydrocephalus. Mcdougall first went to the canada games in 2001 when she was only 13 years old and she was back in 2005 and brought home a bronze in the 100 metre breaststroke. It was only seven seconds that kept mcdougall from getting to the 2004 athens paralympics, but that made her evn more determined to make it to beijing in 2008. “I wanted to do it so badly,”She said.She had a rigorous training schedule before going to beijing, assisted by her coach reg shaw. “You have to keep going no matter how hard it gets,”Mcdougall said. Playing water polo soon was an integral part of mitchell’s life and by the time he was in high school, he was playing elite level water polo with pacific storm.His coach michel roy with pacific storm gave him a”Nudge”In the right direction and got him dreaming about competing internationally and at the olympics. By that time the haney neptunes had started a water polo team and at the age of 17 kevin started coaching in his home pool. “I love coaching,”Kevin ralph lauren australia said. “It’s a good feeling when you teach someone something. ” Mitchell kept playing on national teams and getting accolades for his aquatic prowess.In 2002, he was mvp at the senior men’s championships.In 2006/07 he played in a semi pro league on the sydney university lions in australia. Until 2008, canada had never had a water polo team qualify for the olympics the three times they played, they got in by default. But this year, the national team was ready to take on the europeans under their coach dragan jovanovic, who gave them the mental and technical training to take them from being the underdogs at the world championships in romania this year to, for the first time, qualifying for a spot at the olympics. After the olympics, mitchell signed a one year contract to play on ethnikos, the greek national water polo team and hopes to continue playing on elite european teams.