Vernon’s Josh Dueck wins silver at Paralympic Games

Medal comes during the first day of competition in Sochi

Vernon's Josh Dueck receives a silver medal in men's downhill at the Paralympic Games Saturday.

Vernon’s Josh Dueck has struck silver in Sochi, Russia.

Dueck won silver in men’s downhill Saturday during the first day of competition at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.

On the ten-year anniversary of the freestyle skiing accident that landed him in a wheelchair, sit-skier Dueck celebrated his second Paralympic silver medal, adding to his silver in slalom from the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

“This is fantastic,” Dueck said after the race.

“I’m really about performance, and I took a fast line down the hill and took some chances and I got pretty lucky… I crossed the line and was thrilled. Second is awesome.”

Though a long wait in the start caused by course delays proved problematic for some racers, Dueck said the extra time helped him harness his energy, think about family at home in Canada, and prepare to “just absolutely send it.”

“It was more about letting all that go and just skiing,” said Dueck, who raced with a photograph of his daughter placed over his heart.

Dueck looked poised for gold, topping the leaderboard as racer after racer tried to match his fast line, but Japan’s Akira Kano edged past Dueck’s time of one minute, 24.19 for the win (1:23.80). Takeshi Suzuki, also of Japan, captured bronze (1:24.75).

Compared to his silver medal in Vancouver, Dueck credited much of Friday’s silver to a matured approach and also the sit-ski technology the Canadian team has invested in developing during the past four years.

“The equipment has been huge. We’ve invested a lot of energy in keeping this equipment competitive with the rest of the world, and maybe even a little better,” Dueck said.

“I had the ability to trust in that, point it down the hill and have a good time.”

 

 

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