One of Canada’s most decorated Paralympians is among the Class of 2020 to be enshrined into the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
Vernon’s Sonja Gaudet, three-time Paralympic gold medal-winning wheelchair curler, is among five athletes named to Hall.
Gaudet was on the team that won gold in wheelchair curling at the 2006 Winter Paralympics in Torino, Italy, the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver-Whistler and the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia. She was also the Canadian Flagbearer for the 2014 Winter Paralympics.
“It’s definitely an honour and this always overwhelms me with all of the stuff that’s happened since my accident,” said Gaudet, who was in Vancouver Tuesday at the Hall for the announcement. “It’s a privilege to be inducted with these great athletes and builders. It’s great for our sport and great for the Paralympic movement.”
Gaudet is also a member of the Okanagan Sports Hall of Fame, Canadian Curling Hall of Fame and Mission Hill Elementary School Hall of Fame.
Joining Gaudet in the athletes category are baseball pitcher Jeff Francis, who threw in the 2007 World Series for the Colorado Rockies; former Vancouver Canucks goalie Kirk McLean; former B.C. Lions defensive end Brent Johnson; and cyclist Alex Stieda.
The five athletes, three builder-coaches, a team, one pioneer, one media member and a W.A.C. Bennett Award winner were named Tuesday (Oct. 29) during a media event at the hall, located at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver.
In the builders/coaches category, Harry White (golf), Bill Mitchell (wrestling) and Valerie Johnson (trampoline gymnastics) were announced as inductees.
As a team, the 1979-80 University of Victoria Viking’s men’s basketball squad will become hall members.
Duncan-born hockey pro Robin Bawa will be inducted as a pioneer (as the first Punjabi-Canadian NHL player), Cleve Dheensaw as a media member and Kathy Newman as winner of the W.A.C. Bennett Award.
Tom Mayenknecht, chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, called the hall’s class of 2020 “a terrific cross-section of the personalities and teams that make the history, heritage and culture of sport in British Columbia so notable and inspiring for the next generation of young people in B.C.,” he said in a media release.
“On behalf of our board of trustees and management team led by chief executive Nicholas Cartmell, along with our selection committee and foundation board, we’re looking forward to celebrating their achievements provincially, nationally and globally at the BC Sports Hall of Fame Induction Gala on June 4, 2020.”
That night, the gala will be held at Vancouver Convention Centre.
The BC Sports Hall of Fame celebrates “extraordinary achievement in B.C. sport history and inspires future generations to make their dreams come true.”