Sonja Gaudet is the world’s most decorated wheelchair curler. The veteran of Team Canada has gold medals from the 2006 Paralympic Winter Games and from the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games where she won in front a cheering hometown crowd filled with friends and admirers. Her long list of achievements also includes three gold medals won at the 2013, 2011 and 2009 World Wheelchair Curling Championships.
After a fall from a horse and sustaining a spinal cord injury, Sonja sought out others who might be able to give her advice on how to sustain the healthy lifestyle she enjoyed before her accident. She turned to Rick Hansen who has been an incredible role model for people with a disability across the world. As Sonja will tell you during her many meetings with Rick, she “bombarded him with questions about adaptive sporting opportunities, how to navigate through life with a spinal cord injury and about raising kids from a wheelchair,” since his children are the same age as Sonja’s and at the time of her accident they were three and six years old.
Sonja believes, “the power of sport has incredible benefits for athletes with a disability. Sport promotes a healthy lifestyle as well as so many great tools for life - a sense of self-worth, confidence, honesty, teamwork, respect, belief in self, perseverance, determination. The list is endless.”
Sonja has a keen interest in accessibility issues in her community of Vernon and lends her experience and knowledge to create new recreational opportunities for people with mobility challenges. She is an ambassador with the Rick Hansen Foundation and the Canadian Paralympic Committee where she uses the power of sport and her experience of overcoming challenges to motivate and inspire people of all ages.
(Courtesy Canadian Paralympic Committee)