Sebastien Fortier, nordic skier

Sebastien Fortier, 27, didn't play sport before 2003, when he injured his spinal cord in a factory accident. He began para-nordic skiing in 2008 and competed in the 2010 Paralympics in Vancouver. (Courtesy of Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Sébastien Fortier grew up on the family farm in St-Janvier-de-Joly, Quebec. While he enjoyed sports in school, he rarely had time to play because he was always busy with the family business. On Sept. 13, 2003, at age 17, he was injured in an accident at a roof factory when 19 roof frames fell on his head. He severely injured his spinal cord and was left a paraplegic.

In May 2005 he had surgery to remove rods on his spine. The operation was unsuccessful, which resulted in recurring lower back pain and neuropathic pain. In his first full season with Canada’s national para-nordic team, Fortier qualified for the Paralympic Games in Vancouver-Whistler in 2010. He was a member of Canada’s seventh-place relay team. Just a year later he won three gold medals at the Canada Winter Games.

During the 2012-2013 season, he did not train or compete much due to rotator cuff injuries. For the 2013-14 season, Fortier, 27, competed at the opening World Cup event in Canmore, Alta., and was 20th in the sprint despite breaking his pole at the start of the race.

Courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Commitee