It was exciting and rewarding to learn that my friend, Colette Bourgonje, received an honorary degree from the University of Regina during Spring Convocation last week. Colette is one of the most highly decorated athletes in our province, but also one of the most humble. Colette doesn’t talk a lot about herself.
Born and raised in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan, Colette knew at an early age that she was an athlete; she loved sports – any sports. She joined teams just for the joy of playing and competing. She also loved to win. She was a top-level athlete, already being looked at as a possible Olympic competitor when she was involved in a car accident in April of her grade 12 year. The story of how Colette was air-lifted to Saskatoon is a wonderful story of a whole community coming together to make the impossible happen.
Over the course of her 22-year career competing at national and internal levels. When she retired from competition in 2014, she was the only person to compete in seven Paralympic Games as well one of only a handful of Paralympians to compete and win medals in both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. In 2010, she was also inducted into the Canadian Disability Hall of Fame. In 2011, Colette was the Saskatchewan Sport Athlete of the Year. Now,
she is the worthy recipient of this prestigious award. Congratulations, Colette! This award is well-deserved.
If you would like to learn more about Colette, you can read Moving Forward: The
Journey of Paralympian Colette Bourgonje, now available as an ebook.