Hickling Enters Paralympic Hall Of Fame

Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame to induct seven individuals this fall
Hall of Fame gala to take place November 15 in Vancouver

Five Canadian Paralympic legends – with 27 medals between them – are among the seven individuals who will be inducted into the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame this year on November 15 in Vancouver, the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced today.

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.

“A huge congratulations to the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame class of 2019,” said Marc-André Fabien, president, Canadian Paralympic Committee. “This is an extremely talented and dedicated group of people who are truly passionate about Paralympic sport and live by our values every day. They have made immeasurable contributions to our community both on and off the field of play throughout their entire careers. This will be a special induction ceremony and we can’t wait to honour each of them in Vancouver.”

This year’s inductees are:

ATHLETES

Colette Bourgonje, Para Nordic Skiing
Colette Bourgonje’s remarkable Paralympic career spanned 22 years, making her debut at Albertville 1992 and retiring following Sochi 2014. The Saskatoon native competed at 10 Paralympic Games (seven winter, in Para nordic skiing, and three summer in wheelchair racing) and claimed three silver and seven bronze medals.

Josh Dueck, Para Alpine Skiing
One of Para alpine skiing’s most innovative athletes – he was the first person to do a back flip in a sit ski – Josh Dueck is a two-time Paralympian. The Kimberley, B.C. native captured a silver medal in his debut Games at Vancouver 2010 before being one of the stars of Canada’s Sochi 2014 team, becoming Paralympic champion in the men’s sitting super combined, and adding another silver in the downhill.

Viviane Forest, Para Alpine Skiing
The first Canadian to win gold at both a summer and winter Paralympic Games, Viviane Forest’s performance on the slopes was a highlight of Vancouver 2010, winning one gold, three silver, and one bronze on home soil in the sport of Para alpine skiing. The Edmonton resident added this to the two goalball gold medals she won earlier in 2000 and 2004.

Garett Hickling, London, Ont., Wheelchair Rugby
Garett Hickling, who lives in London, Ont. but is originally from B.C., was one of the best wheelchair rugby players in the world during a career that lasted over two decades. A leader for Canada, he was part of five Paralympic teams – where he claimed three medals (silver at Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004, bronze at Beijing 2008) – as well as six world championships squads.

Full Bio:

One of wheelchair rugby’s greatest-ever players, Garett Hickling was an influential leader on the Canadian national team for 20 years during a very successful career. Feared by the opposition for his toughness, hard hitting and scoring ability, Hickling’s many talents were instrumental in Canada becoming one of the world’s top countries in the sport.

Hickling burst on the international stage earning tournament MVP at the first three world championships in the sport (1995, 1998, and 2002) – including Canada’s breakthrough gold medal performance in the third iteration of the event. Hickling was also one of the trailblazers in the worldwide popularity of the sport competing at the first five Paralympic Games that included wheelchair rugby – Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, and London 2012.

He helped Canada to the podium in four of his five Paralympic Games participations. He owns a silver medal from 1996, 2004, and 2012, as well as a bronze from 2008. Canadians came to learn more about this quiet leader as he made headlines as Canada’s Opening Ceremony Flag Bearer at the London 2012 Games. At those Games, it was Hickling who generated a key turnover and scored the winning goal in the final seconds of Canada’s semifinal against their U.S. rivals.

Throughout his 20 years as a top-level athlete, Hickling battled through many injuries. He had to have his neck realigned in 2005 in a 10-hour surgery, he ripped his left triceps in 2008 and in 2011 he separated his right shoulder.

In addition to his accolades at the Paralympic Games, Hickling has five world championships medals (gold, two silver, and two bronze).

As a youngster, Hickling was always very active in sport. Born in Mica Creek, he grew up in British Columbia and played many sports including hockey, baseball, soccer, basketball, and volleyball.

In 1987, at age 16, Hickling and two friends were hiking an unfamiliar B.C. trail at night when they fell off a cliff and dropped more than 300 feet; one of his friends died and the other was severely injured while Hickling was left a quadriplegic. Hickling tried many wheelchair sports, including basketball and road hockey before tackling wheelchair rugby about five years after his accident.

Hickling was recruited into the sport in 1993 by Duncan Campbell, one of the sport’s creators and key builders: “He got me to come out, [I] hit my first guy – knocked him out of his chair – and haven’t looked back since” Hickling said when he was featured on CNN’s Human to Hero series in 2012.

The wheelchair rugby legend has returned the favour by helping the next generation of players. He is extremely well-respected in the community, and has been a role model for many, including Paralympians Mike Whitehead, Travis Murao, and Cody Caldwell. Now living in London, Ont., he is also involved in the sport today as a coach and recruiter, sharing his knowledge and experience.

In recent years, Hickling has been deservedly recognized for his immense contributions and achievements. In 2015, he became the first wheelchair rugby player to be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame. Campbell was inducted the same year in the pioneer category. He is also a member of the Central Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame in Kelowna and the Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association Hall of Fame.

And last year, Hickling’s name was etched in the International Wheelchair Rugby Federation Hall of Fame.

Joey Johnson, Wheelchair Basketball
One of the key players on Canada’s wheelchair basketball team for almost 20 years, Joey Johnson of Winnipeg is a five-time Paralympian. He helped Canada capture four Paralympic medals throughout his career – three gold (Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, London 2012) and one silver (Beijing 2008). He now is an assistant coach with Canada’s national team.

COACH

Joe Rea, Wheelchair Curling
From Prince George, B.C., Joe Rea has been involved in the sport of curling for years, first as a player, and then as a coach at the local, provincial, and national levels. He is the country’s most successful wheelchair curling coach, as he was at the helm of the Canadian team when it won three consecutive Paralympic gold medals at Torino 2006, Vancouver 2010, and Sochi 2014.

BUILDER

Kathy Newman
Vancouver’s Kathy Newman has been a tireless leader and advocate for wheelchair sports for nearly four decades. As an administrator with the BC Wheelchair Sports and Canadian Wheelchair Sports Associations, she recruited new athletes, developed programming, organized competitions at all levels, and made immense impacts on the lives of so many athletes with disabilities. She still currently serves on the boards of Wheelchair Rugby Canada and Wheelchair Basketball Canada.

To view the complete list of Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame members, please visit Paralympic.ca/hall-fame-inductees.

The 2019 Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame gala will take place the evening of November 15 at the Vancouver Marriott Pinnacle Downtown Hotel. Tickets are available to the public for $100 and can be purchased at:  https://coccpclab.wufoo.com/forms/m1i3bjcq0fxj1zp/

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