VANCOUVER – The Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame welcomed seven new members on Friday evening at an induction ceremony held at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel.
Five athletes – Colette Bourgonje (Porcupine Plain, SK), Josh Dueck (Kimberley, BC), Viviane Forest (Edmonton), Garett Hickling (Kelowna, BC), and Joey Johnson (Lorette, MB) – as well as coach Joe Rea (Prince George, BC) and builder Kathy Newman (Vancouver) were inducted and celebrated for their vast achievements and contributions within Paralympic sport.
The Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates athletes, coaches, and builders who have made a significant impact on the growth and development of the Paralympic Movement in Canada. A new class of inductees is honoured every two years.
“Congratulations to the new members of the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame,” said Marc-André Fabien, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee. “The class of 2019 truly is represented by special individuals who have been pillars of the Paralympic Movement in Canada for decades. The Canadian Paralympic Committee, and our entire community in Canada, is so grateful for their dedication, passion, commitment, and their tremendous contributions to Para sport in this country.”
*from the Hall of Fame ceremony
“I am so honoured to be put into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame. This is definitely my family, and to be amongst the athletes and builders and coaches, and to see where the sport has gone since I started is amazing. It’s been a phenomenal journey that I am just grateful to have been a part of and to have had the support from so many areas in my life.”
- Colette Bourgonje, Athlete, Para Nordic Skiing and Wheelchair Racing
“When I look back on my sports career, I am so thankful beyond any measure that it helped me develop the tools, and the skills, and the experience to not only negotiate and manage this life that we live in that can be crazy, and awesome, but it also gives us the skills to appreciate it and thrive within it.”
- Josh Dueck, Athlete, Para Alpine Skiing
“I’m very humbled to be here. Sport has been my life; it is my passion. I cannot dream of a better career, I saw so many places in the world, and met amazing people. I hope that sport can bring so much pleasure to a lot of young people, it brings a sense of family, engagement, respect, fair play, and a lot of great values that Paralympic sport can bring to someone.”
- Viviane Forest, Athlete, Para Alpine Skiing and Goalball
“You do something you love for so many years, and to be recognized like this, it’s just amazing.”
- Garett Hickling, Athlete, Wheelchair Rugby
“This is truly a very humbling experience and such an honour. I can’t believe that my career [as an athlete] is done, and here I am being inducted into a Hall of Fame … Throughout my career I was supported and encouraged by so many people, and I will now encourage and challenge everyone else here to keep pushing forward, keep breaking down those barriers, and to help grow Para sport and push it into the mainstream and hopefully that will help enable our next generation of Paralympic all stars.”
- Joey Johnson, Athlete, Wheelchair Basketball
“My players taught me more about the ability to overcome adversity than I’ll ever know. Their grit, determination, and sportsmanship was second to none. All of our Canadian teams showed quiet confidence and a never-give-up attitude that made them the very best in the world for many years. I can honestly say I was never more proud to wear the maple leaf than alongside them.”
- Joe Rea, Coach, Wheelchair Curling
“I am honoured to be here to receive this award, and I feel quite overwhelmed … I was reflecting on what I would say tonight, and recently I was interviewed on the radio, and I was asked what I wanted to see happen in the future of the Paralympic Movement, and what came to mind was the need for us to continue to shine a light on Para sport. While we have come a long way, we have much more to do.”
- Kathy Newman, Builder, Wheelchair Sports
For more information on each inductee, and to view the complete list of Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame members, please visit Paralympic.ca/hall-fame-inductees.