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Sonja Gaudet elected to Canadian Curling Hall of Fame
The latest accolade for Vernon’s wheelchair curling queen left even her in shock.
Sonja Gaudet, Canada’s most decorated wheelchair curler, is one of two players being inducted this summer into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame.
The other is Cathy King of Edmonton.
King and Gaudet will receive their awards during the Canadian Curling Association’s (CCA) annual meetings in June.
“It totally comes as a surprise to me, for sure,” said Gaudet. “I mean, I’ve been treated like royalty by the CCA from day one and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed being an athlete on the national wheelchair curling team. I am thrilled.”
Gaudet, has won gold medals at the past two Paralympic Winter Games, playing lead both times (in 2006 at Torino, Italy, with skip Chris Daw; in 2010 at Vancouver with skip Jim Armstrong).
This past weekend in Sochi, Russia, Gaudet won her third world wheelchair curling championship gold medal (along with Armstrong’s Ina Forrest). She also won gold in 2009 in Vancouver and 2011 in the Czech Republic, all with Armstrong as the skip.
Gaudet becomes the first athlete inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame based on her wheelchair curling achievements (Armstrong also is a member, but was inducted prior to taking up wheelchair curling).
“Our sport has just moved forward in leaps and bounds,” said Gaudet. “The gap between the grassroots and our level is nowhere near what it was a few years ago. The skill level of our sport and the awareness of our sport has just grown tremendously. And this honour is definitely an indication of that.”
King made history in 2012 by becoming the first skip to win Canadian curling championships at the junior (back-to-back in 1977 and 1978), women’s (1998) and senior levels (2012).
A bronze-medallist at the 1998 Ford World Women’s Championship in Kamloops, King will once again wear the maple leaf on the international stage when she plays at the 2013 World Senior Women’s Championship, April 13-20 in Fredericton, N.B.