Before the riding accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down, Sonja Gaudet Vernon played a variety of sports, from basketball and volleyball to swimming, tennis and skiing.
Curling did not arise because Gaudet never pushed or swept rocks in his life.
Instead of focusing on limitations, Gaudet – at age 31 and with the support of her husband, two young people aged six and three at the time of her accident, plus her community – survived and became the most decorated Paralympic brace in Canada, winning three Paralympic gold medals, winning three Paralympic gold medals. and three world wheelchair curling championships.
Gaudet was announced on Wednesday, May 27, as one of 11 members in the 2020-21 Class who will be inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame.
“This whole journey has led a life of its own,” Gaudet said. “I have been supported by so many people. I thank my family, my coach and my teammates. Curling is a brilliant team sport with great team dynamics. The teammates became friends. This is an experience that I will never forget. “
Six athletes and five builders were chosen this year to mark and celebrate the 65th anniversary of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Joining Gaudet as the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame 2020/21 Inductees are:
* John “Jackie” Barrett – Athlete, Powerlifting and Olympian Special;
* Diane Jones Konihowski – Athletes, Athletics
* Lorie Kane – Athletes, 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, Sports Administration;
* Willie O’Ree – Builder, Ice Hockey;
* Ross Powless – Builder, Lacrosse.
“We have never been more proud of our sporting history, our sporting champions, and the spirit of their community, and we officially recognize these athletes and builders for living and sharing sports values - shared values of Canada; respect, equality, fairness and openness, “said Cheryl Bernard, Olympic brace and president and CEO of Sports Hall of Fame Canada.
Said Gaudet, about being a member of this class: “The class is very diverse which is recognized and I think that’s great. Congratulations to all of them. I am honored to go to the Hall of Fame with them. “
Determined to increase accessibility for people with physical disabilities in his community, Gaudet was introduced to the accidental curling of a wheelchair when the Vernon Curling Club asked him for advice on renovating wheelchair accessible bathrooms.
The club is preparing to host a beginner wheelchair curling clinic, and Gaudet’s interest is being tickled. He eventually participated, and at the age of 37 found a natural passion and interest for sports, thanks to the persuasion of two old club members.
“Janice Mori and Sharon Morrison are determined to get me out on the ice throwing stone,” laughed Gaudet. “I am glad they are persistent and I am grateful they have survived since then.”
Gaudet won the Paralympic gold in Turin, Italy, in 2006, Vancouver in 2010 and in 2014 in Sochi, Russia, where he was honored to be a Canadian flag bearer for the opening ceremony. She is also part of the Canada Post stamp series, Women in Winter Sports, released before the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics in Korea.
He 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 Hall (F).
“I feel like now I can stop and contemplate everything,” Gaudet said, when asked where he was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame which was ranked at the top of his list of achievements. “They all hold so many special and different memories.”
Gaudet serves as an inspirational speaker at the school and works as an accessibility specialist with the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association, promoting the “Access for All” initiative throughout the tourism industry at B.C. He 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 an accessible environment, recreation and experience for everyone, regardless of their abilities.
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place around 2021.
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