April 30, 2014, OTTAWA (ISN) – It is with great appreciation that the Canadian Paralympic Committee celebrates the career of 10-time Paralympic medallist Colette Bourgonje (Prince Albert, Sask.), who has announced her retirement from competition after a 24-year international career that spanned seven winter and three summer Paralympic Games.
Bourgonje is the only athlete in the world to have competed in each of the seven Paralympic Winter Games from 1992 to 2014. She also represented Canada at three Paralympic Summer Games – 1992, 1996 and 2000 – in wheelchair athletics. The 52-year-old won six winter Paralympic medals (three silver, three bronze) and four bronze medals at the Paralympic Summer Games.
At the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games, Bourgonje was the first Canadian to win a Paralympic medal on home snow after she won silver in the women’s 10-kilometre sit-ski race. She also won the prestigious Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award – a solid gold medal that is presented to an individual who conquers adversities through the pursuit of excellence in sport.
In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Bourgonje is a dedicated mentor to the next generation of athletes. Two years ago, she recruited and inspired Brittany Hudak to take up para-Nordic skiing after spotting her working at her local Canadian Tire in Prince Albert. Hudak, an arm amputee, went on to fast-track in the sport and competed at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games at age 20.
“On behalf of the Canadian Paralympic Committee, a heartfelt thank you to Colette for her contributions to Paralympic sport and congratulations on an unparalleled career,” said Karen O’Neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Colette has been a great leader on the national para-Nordic team through her accomplishments and experience. We wish her well in retirement.”
Bourgonje was born in Saskatoon, Sask. and is a resident of Prince Albert, Sask. Her hometown is Porcupine Plain, Sask.
Photo: Kevin Bogetti-Smith/CPC