You certainly couldn’t ask for a more successful Paralympic Games than those experienced by Kimberley’s own Josh Dueck. Not only did the sit-skier win two medals, a gold in Super Combined and a silver in the downhill, but he lead in his Canadian teammates and carried the flag at the closing ceremonies on Sunday.
Dueck’s gold medal performance came on Friday when finished with a combined time of two minutes 18.20 seconds for the first gold medal of his Paralympic career.
“I’m stunned, speechless, to the moon,’’ Dueck told the Canadian Press, “This is definitely the one achievement that was missing on my bookshelf.’’
“I don’t like to focus on the outcome of what’s going on, but I wanted this and it feels freaking great,’’ he added.
It was then announced prior to the closing ceremonies that he had been chosen to be flag bearer.
“I’m really excited, I couldn’t be happier,” said Dueck. “I really can’t imagine what will go through my mind when we enter the stadium. What a great honor. I ski because I love to ski, but I compete for Canada, so to have an opportunity to bring the flag in for the closing ceremony is unbelievable.”
Sunday’s closing ceremonies were the first time Dueck was able to make an opening or closing ceremony. He couldn’t go to either in Vancouver, where he won a silver, or the opening in Sochi, because of his race schedule.
“So this is my first time going to the big show and I get to carry the flag! It’s awesome,” Dueck said. “Our team rocked. We’re skiing well. We met our targets. Tip of the hat to all our coaches and staff, it was cool to see a plan come to fruition.”
“The selection of Josh Dueck as Canada’s flag bearer for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games closing ceremony was one reflecting the focus of our Canadian Team on performing in the moment,” said Team Canada Chef de Mission Ozzie Sawicki. “Josh embraced this and certainly led by example throughout the alpine events at the Games. Canada can be extremely proud of the results from all of our Canadian athletes and I know Josh will lead our Canadian Paralympic Team into the closing ceremony with the pride representative of our entire team.”
Prime Minister Stephen also added his congratulations.
“On behalf of all Canadians, I congratulate Josh Dueck for his impressive performance in the para-alpine men’s super combined (sitting) event, which has earned him a well-deserved gold medal and his second medal of these Paralympic Games. Once again, our Canadian athletes have shown that they are truly among the world’s best and the entire country is very proud.”
Also from the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of Sport, “On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to offer my most heartfelt congratulations to Josh Dueck, who was named Canada’s flag-bearer for the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games closing ceremony.
“Josh’s outstanding performance in Para-Alpine Skiing, resulting in gold and silver medals, has inspired Canadians across the country. Josh truly is a super athlete: determined, relentless and tough.”
With files from Canadian Press, Alpine Canada