You’re Awesome in a Wheelchair Josh!

“Follow your dreams and you will discover your true potential.” Josh Dueck

I haven’t met Josh yet.  I know people who know him because I live in Vernon and he is a local Vernonite.  I saw locals buying “Go Josh Go” tee shirts around town and I was curious.  People were really stoked about Josh’s run for medals at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympics.  They weren’t disappointed when Josh captured a silver medal yesterday in his first of four events.  Way to go Josh!!

In fact about 50 people from Kimberly, his home town, and from Vernon, where he lives now, stayed to cheer him on even through three steady hours of afternoon snow and after at least half of the crowd of 4,000 had called it quits, they were still there when their sit-skiing hero earned a surprise silver medal. Dueck said it was “huge” to feel the crowd’s energy. “I put a little bit in my back pocket just for those moments when I needed it.”

Josh learned to ski at thirteen and dreamed of becoming a professional skier.  He made the B.C. freestyle team, working to qualify for Canada’s national development team.

The financial demands of competition led Josh to coaching and sharing his passion for sport as head coach of the Silver Star Freestyle Ski Club in Vernon. It was then that the dream crash-landed.

Preparing students for the 2004 Canadian junior nationals, Josh was too fast on a demonstration jump. “Intuition said stop, but my ego made me go,” he remembers.

Overshooting the landing hill, he dropped 100 feet and completely smashed his body —breaking his back and flipping his world upside-down. Bent in an impossible direction, the spine was severed. At 23, Josh was paralyzed from the waist down.

Josh’s focus, dedication and commitment are so incredibly inspiring.  All the athletes competing in the Paralympics truly demonstrate to the world that the human Spirit is so much greater than our physical selves.  Congratulations to everyone competing and thank you for inspiring all of us.

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11 thoughts on “You’re Awesome in a Wheelchair Josh!

  1. No fair making me cry first thing in the morning Bonnie!! I am lucky enough to know Josh and Lacey and he IS an amazingly upbeat guy and inspiring to many! He got the silver in slalom and that’s not even “his event” ! Have been wearing my GO JOSH GO shirt all week and was so proud when I heard he got a silver ! Let’s keep cheering him on the rest of the week !!
    Wonderful post. Thanks 🙂

  2. There is a plaque on the sea wall near Canada Place in Vancouver that talks about Josh. It also talks about the conversation between him and his doc on the day of the injury. Very touching.

  3. Wow Bonnie thanks for that! What an incredible guy! I hope you meet him one day. What stuck out for me in his interviews were that he thought of himself as an underdog, I LOVE THE UNDERDOG! He obviously loves a challenge!
    What your perception is on something makes a world of difference. I love that, it’s so true. Love inspires him in all forms, gosh there was so much I loved about him. I loved that he was indebted to the Dr for his kind words that day basically taking the positive out of a potentially very negative outcome. What a great Doctor! Go Josh Go!!!! Attitude is everything !!!!

  4. Beautiful soul, beautiful spirit. I want my daughter to marry him! Bonnie, if you ever get a chance to meet him can you slip him a photo of Samantha?

    He is coolness personified. Lovely, lovely man. And his Dr. sounds like a pretty amazing human being as well. This was just a completely uplifting story.
    Thanks, Bonnie

  5. Josh is an amazing person – so selfless and considerate of everyone around him. He was watching our team play the night that my injured knee snapped and locked and he was so concerned, sitting in his wheelchair offering me support and positive input – I will never forget that.

  6. I was one of the people waiting for him to compete on Saturday. Rob made part of his sit ski so he is well know to Rob’s shop. He is one great, inspirational fellow! Glad you wrote about him!

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