Select Page

Okanagan Heros: Paralympic flags and medals

Okanagan Heros: Paralympic flags and medals

sonja-gaudet-canadian-flagOkanagan athletes played a key role in clinching Canada’s third place finish (behind Russia and Germany) at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. While Russia dominated the podium with 30 gold and 80 medals in total — more than the next five countries combined — Canada made a strong showing in the more evenly matched remaining field with 7 gold, 2 silver and 7 bronze.

The world’s most decorated wheelchair curler, Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet, proudly carried the Maple Leaf flag to lead the Canadian team during the opening ceremonies. The honour recognized her two previous Paralympic gold medals (Turino 2006 and Vancouver 2010) along with three World Wheelchair Championships.


Digital Edition | Spring 2014

Sonja joined Ina Forrest (from Armstrong), Dennis Thiessen and skip Jim Armstrong to break the Russian gold medal stranglehold with a decisive 8-3 win in the final. Ina said they were in the groove for this game. “It feels fantastic,” she said. “The game felt so smooth and comfortable.”

For Sonja there was another message to go with the gold. “Sending that message around the world that giving up is not an option and battling through your challenges and facing obstacles head on — that’s what these gold medals represent to me. It’s about letting people know that anything is possible.”
See more: Canada Wins Gold in Wheelchair Curling

Sonja’s message resonates with Vernon sit-skier Josh Dueck, who came away from Vancouver 2010 with a silver medal and stunned the world in 2012 by completing the first back flip on a sit-ski. He raced to a second silver finish in the men’s downhill at Sochi. It was the 10th anniversary of the accident that started his Paralympic odyssey, but Josh wasn’t finished.

Paralympic-flags-josh-dueck-closing-ceremonies-sochiStanding fifth after the first slalom run of the super combined, he made up over a second in the super-G run to finally strike gold. “I’m stunned. Speechless. To the moon,” said Josh. “This is definitely the one kind of achievement that was missing on my bookshelf. I can’t wait to hear the anthem ring loud and clear. It’s something that I’ve dreamt of for a long time.”

What he may not have dreamt of was the honour of carrying the flag for the closing ceremonies. “I’m really excited, I couldn’t be happier,” said Josh. “I really can’t imagine what will go through my mind when we enter the stadium. What a great honour. I ski because I love to ski, but I compete for Canada, so to have an opportunity to bring the flag in for the closing ceremony is unbelievable.”

Autograph Session A celebration of golden proportions will take place at Silver Star as the resort honours Josh Dueck on the afternoon of Saturday, March 29. Join the Paralympic gold and silver medallist at the Village Centre at 4 pm.

Related Post

About The Author

Laurie Carter

This grandma wears hiking boots (and other fetching footwear) in search of cultural, culinary and eco-adventure. Award-winning writer, photographer and author of the popular Grandma Wears Hiking Boots guide to the Okanagan Valley, Laurie proudly serves as senior editor of Okanagan Life magazine.

30,000 giveaway for small business okanagan

Current Issue

yearly-subscribeDigital Edition - Yearly Subscription

Each month, we're giving away 30 free annual subscriptions to celebrate our 30th year in publishing! With a digital subscription, you can enjoy Okanagan Life on your tablet.

Upcoming Events

3:00 pm Happy Hour at Quails Gate Winery... @ Old Vines Restaurant at Quails' Gate
Happy Hour at Quails Gate Winery... @ Old Vines Restaurant at Quails' Gate
Jan 22 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Happy Hour at Quails Gate Winery with live music by Lindsay May @ Old Vines Restaurant at Quails' Gate | West Kelowna | BC | Canada
Happy Hour at Quail’s Gate Winery! Listen to Lindsay May perform her award winning originals and a fun mix of covers while sipping Foch and enjoying the beautiful view in this upscale restaurant in[...]
6:00 pm Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate
Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate
Jan 24 @ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Communal Table Dinner Series @ Quails' Gate | West Kelowna | BC | Canada
Join us on Wednesday’s for our long table dinners, each time exploring a different theme or region in the world. Enjoy 3 family-style courses for $55 per person (plus tax & gratuity). January 10: France[...]
6:00 pm Wine Education Seminar: Through ... @ Quails' Gate
Wine Education Seminar: Through ... @ Quails' Gate
Jan 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Wine Education Seminar: Through the Ages - Vertical Tasting @ Quails' Gate | West Kelowna | BC | Canada
At Quails’ Gate – we love wine! We love drinking it – making it and learning about it so we’re launching a new set of fun and interactive wine education sessions to share some of[...]
11:30 am Luncheon featuring Mayor Basran ... @ Coast Capri Hotel
Luncheon featuring Mayor Basran ... @ Coast Capri Hotel
Jan 26 @ 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Luncheon featuring Mayor Basran - State of the City @ Coast Capri Hotel | Kelowna | BC | Canada
Mayor Colin Basran is the Chamber of Commerce’s guest speaker on January 26th providing his annual State-of-the-City address to a sold out crowd, about the past year’s successes, challenges and look ahead to where Council[...]


Error: Please enter a valid email address

Error: Invalid email

Error: Please enter your first name

Error: Please enter your last name

Error: Please enter a username

Error: Please enter a password

Error: Please confirm your password

Error: Password and password confirmation do not match