B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Prior to the equestrian accident that left her paralyzed from the chest down, Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet played a wide variety of sports, from basketball and volleyball to swimming, tennis and skiing.

Curling doesn’t appear because Gaudet never pushed or swept a rock in her life.

Rather than focus on limitations, Gaudet – at age 31 and with support from her husband, two young kids aged six and three at the time of her accident, plus her community – persevered and became Canada’s most decorated Paralympic curler, winning three Paralympic gold medals and three world wheelchair curling championships.

Gaudet was announced on Wednesday, May 27, as one of the 11 members in the Class of 2020-21 to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

“This whole journey has taken on a life of its own,” said Gaudet. “I’ve been supported by so many people. I’m grateful to my family, my coaches and my teammates. Curling is such a brilliant team sport with great team dynamics. Those teammates became friends. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget.”

Six athletes and five builders were chosen this year to signify and celebrate Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s 65th anniversary year. Joining Gaudet as Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020/21 Inductees are:

* John “Jackie” Barrett – Athlete, Powerlifting and Special Olympian;

* Diane Jones Konihowski – Athlete, Athletics

* Lorie Kane – Athlete, Golf;

* Eric Lamaze and Hickstead – Team, Equestrian – Show Jumping;

* Steve Nash – Athlete, Basketball;

* Duncan Campbell – Builder, Wheelchair Rugby:

* Sheldon Kennedy – Builder, Ice Hockey;

* Judy Kent – Builder, Sport Administration;

* Willie O’Ree – Builder, Ice Hockey;

* Ross Powless – Builder, Lacrosse.

“We’ve never been more proud of our sports history, our sports champions, and their community spirit, and we are formally recognizing these athletes and builders for living and sharing sports values – Canada’s shared values; respect, equality, fairness and openness,” said Cheryl Bernard, Olympic curler and president and CEO of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.

Said Gaudet, on being a member of this class: “It’s such a diverse class that is being recognized and I think that’s great. Congratulations to them all. I’m honoured to be going into the Hall of Fame with them.”

Determined to improve accessibility for other people with physical disabilities in her community, Gaudet was introduced to wheelchair curling by chance when the Vernon Curling Club asked her for advice regarding renovating a wheelchair accessible washroom.

The club was preparing to host a beginner’s wheelchair curling clinic, and Gaudet’s interest was piqued. She ended up participating, and at the age of 37 discovered a passion and natural affinity for the sport, thanks to the persuasion of two longtime club members.

“Janice Mori and Sharon Morrison were determined to get me out on the ice throwing rocks,” laughed Gaudet. “I’m glad they were persistent and I’m grateful they persevered from that moment.”

Gaudet won Paralympic gold in Turin, Italy, in 2006, Vancouver in 2010 and in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, where she was honoured to be Canada’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies. She was also part of a Canada Post postage stamp series, Women in Winter Sports, released prior to the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics in Korea.

She won world wheelchair gold in 2009, 2011 and 2013.

Gaudet is also a member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame, B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame and Mission Hill (Vernon) School Hall of Fame.

“I feel like now I can just pause and reflect on everything,” said Gaudet, when asked where being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame ranks on her list of accomplishments. “They all hold so many special, different memories.”

Gaudet serves as an inspirational speaker in schools and working as an accessibility specialist with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, promoting “Access for All” initiatives across the tourism industry in B.C. She is also an alumni ambassador with the Canadian Paralympic Committee and a peer support specialist with Spinal Cord Injury BC, which raises funds and awareness to improve accessible environments, recreation and experiences for everyone, regardless of their abilities.

The Canadian Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place sometime in 2021.

READ MORE: Gaudet honoured with postage stamp

READ MORE: Vernon wheelchair curler called to BC Hall



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CanadacurlingLocal Sportsparalympian

Just Posted

Department of Oceans and Fisheries has announced as of July 19 chinook salmon is not to be fished in certain areas in BC tidal waters until July. Spring chinook salmon are seen swimming. (Photo courtesy Michael Humling, US Fish & Wildlife Service)
Chinook Salmon limits set to zero in some BC tidal waters

DFO implement restrictions to protect Chinook Salmon

Richard Green and Alex Campbell stand in solemn reflection of the survivors and victims of the residential school system on May 30, in Prince Rupert National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21 is a time to reflect on the sacrifices and honour the contributions made by First Nations, Inuit and Metis of Canada. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Reflecting on National Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21 is to celebrate the contributions of First Nations, Inuit and Metis to Canada’s culture

Mark Perry in concert at the old Driftwood School (Marty Clemens photo)
Mark Perry releases new single ahead of Northwest album.

“Golden Spruce” tells the story of a forester who cut down an old-growth Sitka Spruce on Haida Gwaii

Five rehabilitated grizzly bears were released this month into the Bella Coola area. The Northern Lights Wildlife Society will also be delivering 36 black bears to areas across the province where they were previously found. “They’re ready to go and they’re already trying to get out,” says Angelika Langen. “We feel good when we can make that possible and they don’t have to stay behind fences for the rest of their lives.” (Northern Lights Wildlife Society Facebook photo)
Suspected methamphetamine and scale seized by police. (Terrace RCMP photo)
Terrace RCMP seize guns, ammo, suspected narcotics

Man released after court appearance

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read