Kimberley’s Josh Dueck

Kimberley’s Josh Dueck

Dueck to be inducted into Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame

Kimberley-born sit skier and Paralympic gold medallist will enter shrine on Oct. 17 in Vernon

When Josh Dueck suffered a spinal cord injury in March 2004, his life completely changed.

Since then, he’s conquered every challenge he’s faced.

The 34-year-old Kimberley native claimed a silver medal in slalom sit-skiing at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games.

In 2014 at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, he did one better, winning a gold medal in combined sit-skiing and adding a silver medal in downhill sit-skiing.

Having since retired from competition, Dueck will be honoured for his many accomplishments when he is inducted into the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame & Museum on Oct. 17 in Vernon.

In addition to honouring Dueck, the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame & Museum will enshrine snowboard cross star Drew Neilson and volunteer John Topping.

“We are honoured to choose these three highly worthy people for induction this fall,” said Roger Knox, director of the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame & Museum, in a press release. “It was an easy unanimous decision. We hope the public will lend their support and help us celebrate the enormous contributions to sport by Drew, Josh and John.”

Dueck was born and raised in Kimberley and now lives in Vernon.

He learned to ski at the age of 13 and eventually focused his energies on coaching.

He was paralyzed from the waist down after overshooting a demonstration jump and breaking his back at Silver Star Mountain Resort near Vernon in March 2004.

After his success at the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games, Dueck added to his resume by winning gold in mono skier-x at the 2011 Winter X Games in Aspen, Col.

In 2012, Dueck furthered his Winter X Games reputation by earning bronze in mono skier-x.

Dueck is also known for becoming the first person to perform a backflip on snow in a sit ski, which he achieved on Feb. 3, 2012.

The Kimberley native was also Canada’s flag bearer at the 2014 Winter Paralympic Games in Sochi.

Neilson, 41, is a native of Vernon and won the 2007 Crystal Globe as the overall snowboard cross World Cup Champion.

He made appearances at two Winter Olympic Games, finishing 17th at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy. On home snow, Neilson finished 11th at the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Neilson also won gold medals at the 2000 Winter X Games and Gravity Games.

Topping, 73, was born in Vancouver before moving to Vernon in 1976.

He is best known for founding the Funtastic Slo-Pitch Tournament, which raised hundred of thousands of dollars for sporting facilities in the North Okanagan.

Topping was also the fundraising director for the Coldstream Boy Scouts and currently serves as the fundraising director for Venture Training. He has also previously spent time as the chairman for the Cancer — Walk for the Cure event and as director of Vernon Special Olympics.

The Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame was established in 1982 by Vernon’s Nick Alexis.

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