Imagine crashing off a ski jump and waking up paralyzed. Paralympian Josh Dueck lived through that nightmare and emerged a better man. Through hope borrowed from the words of his doctor, Josh knew that even though he’d be confined to a wheelchair for life, he didn’t have to give up skiing.
Instead he took to sit-skiing, and quickly become a dominant force in adaptive skiing. He recently returned to jumping, and landed the first ever backflip on a sit-ski. But Josh’s positivity and message of hope are even more inspiring than his amazing feats.
At first, simply getting out of bed was a struggle that required several breaks. Then, little by little, Josh dreamed of “rocking a sit ski” as his doctor promised that he would. Josh kindled that flame of hope until he would join the Canadian Ski Team in Vancouver and win a silver medal in the men’s slalom sit-ski event.
Like Josh before his accident, I too have feared the ultimate loss. What if I lost the use of my legs? What if I couldn’t ski anymore? Through a dark hole of fear and loss, Josh Dueck has emerged as an inspiration. He was recently named National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year in skiing, and will join the Canadian Ski Team in Sochi. Through all of this, Josh has stayed open to his struggle, been honest about his emotions and emerged as a beacon of light for others to follow. I’m not sure that if I suffered the same accident I could return with such hope. That’s the beauty of putting ourselves out there–because it is often on the edge that we can glimpse our truest selves. And Josh Dueck’s true self has proven to be more golden than any medal.
Join us this week on The Edge Radio as Josh talks about how he came back from his injury to inspire the world. The show airs at 8 a.m. pacific Wednesday morning.
- Getting GNAR With Robb Gaffney (kimkircher.com)
- Ingrid Backstrom: Girl on Fire (kimkircher.com)
- Adventurers of the Year in Their Own Words (Vote for the People’s Choice!) (adventureblog.nationalgeographic.com)