A Vernon star is rocking the national spotlight.
Sonja Gaudet, Paralympic gold medalist in wheelchair curling, is recognized as one of four Super Athletes.
These fighters, odd-defiers, never-say-nevers are featured in a new Canadian Paralympic Committee campaign, which includes distinctive, gutsy 45-second athlete vignettes now launched at facebook.com/CDNParalympics and online at Paralympic.ca/superathletes.
“It is an honor being recognized as a super athlete,” said Gaudet, who is nicknamed The Brain in the special campaign. “For me, it’s all about creating awareness and interest in Paralympic sport, to promote Paralympic athletes and illustrate the highly competitive nature of the Paralympic Games.”
Gaudet got back into sports five years after being paralyzed in a horseback riding accident. She has since claimed gold in the 2006 and 2010 Winter Paralympic Games and the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.
She is currently in training/tapering mode with her teammates as they prepare for the world championships in Korea, Feb. 18 to 25.
Her nickname, The Brain, comes from her clever invention of a self-designed balance post that changed her game and helped her win.
“The Super Athletes campaign objectives are to create stars, create fans and raise awareness of the Paralympic Movement,” said Gaudet. “My hope is that we can give other people in similar situations the motivation and inspiration to reach their goals in sport and see what it takes to take their game to the next level.”
Gaudet’s fellow super athletes include:
- Cross-country skier Brian McKeever, a seven-time Paralympic gold medallist known as The Professor
- Sledge hockey national team player and Afghanistan veteran Dominic Larocque is dubbed The Warrior
- Alpine skier Viviane Forest, winner of five medals at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games, is nicknamed The Falcon
They’re the first four in the series vignettes
“The vignettes grab viewers’ attention by showing them a side of these Paralympic athletes they’ve never seen before,” said Henry Storgaard, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “The imagery is full of attitude and pride and it generates an inspirational, formidable, empowering feeling. What a privilege it is to work with the Executive Producer of the Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Don Young.”
A second “behind the scenes” video profile (two minutes each) for every Super Athlete explores how the athlete became involved in parasport and what it means to them to represent their country, with the goal of inviting viewers to get involved.
Gaudet applauds the producers of the creative videos.
“They succeeded in presenting Paralympians as extraordinary, elite, unique athletes and fierce competitors,” she said.