Connecting Audience with Athlete: Josh Dueck’s New Role at the 2018 Paralympic Games

By Emily McConkey
2 minute read | Josh Dueck reveals his new role at the games and his hope to connect those watching with those competing.

With the Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games beginning tomorrow and the Paralympic Winter Games coming up in a few weeks, we’ve been revisiting the stories of some of our favourite Canadian athletes. 

Returning but not competing is Josh Dueck, a Paralympic champion and the first person to land a back flip on a sit-ski. He won silver in slalom during the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games and won both gold and silver at 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games. Now, Josh will be joining the International Paralympic Committee as a Canadian Ambassador. This means being at the venues, witnessing the action, and connecting his perspectives on the sport with those of the athletes and the audience. A gifted storyteller, Josh is keen to enter into the games at a new angle and share his own perspective with the spectators.

“I’m excited to see the games from a new angle, and to see what others see in the sports and also the athletes’ stories. In competition, you’re so inside the world of your particular sport, so focused on the task and your responsibility, that it’s hard to see the bigger picture. I think there’s a lot of beauty in the role of an athlete that I wouldn’t be able to notice if immersed.”

Josh has been in contact with several of the athletes competing this year, and he’s especially excited to get to know those performing in sports outside of his own realm. Recognizing the immense concentration and training involved in preparing for the games, he gives his advice to athletes new to this level of competition:

“Details matter; leave no stone unturned. When you have the opportunity to compete at the highest level, it’s just you. In high pressure situations, seeds of doubt may come into play. But you can eliminate any hesitation through preparation. Once you know that you’ve done everything in your power to prepare, and you’ve exerted yourself to the best of your abilities, it’s a lot easier to put the doubts away.”

These lessons are the same that he would offer anyone pursuing a major goal in life and work. “Sport is a great analogy for life. These athletes have unearthed deeply rooted potential through their experiences with trauma and disability, just as we all face obstacles of our own; whether physical, mental or emotional, we can learn from and leverage these obstacles to our advantage.”

We can’t wait to see Josh take this new role in the games. We’ve already seen in his keynotes that his Paralympic journey has shaped him into a great leader. He recognizes the “universality of trauma,’ and how helpful it can be to hear another person’s story and know that we’re not alone in our struggles.

Like what you’ve read? Check out Josh Dueck’s profile here to learn more.