Colton Liddle's Quest For Gold - Pyeongchang Paralmypics
article by Barb Fisher, photo supplied
It was that split second life changing moment; and for Colton Liddle it was the beginning of persevering with a disability to become the best in athletic excellence. As a young university grad, Colton began his job with the Ministry of Natural Resources as an initial attack forest firefighter. In his fourth year he ws seriously injured in a workplace accident resulting in his lower right leg being amputated. Colten quickly pulled his life together and began an intimate relationship with his new limb. Quitting has no place in Colton's psyche and with a lot of work and determination his new leg eventually conformed to become one in body, spirit and mind, and Colton was off to the back country to pick up where his life left off hiking, biking and climbing in the wilds of Canada. Snowboarding has been a lifelong passion for Colton and in winter all of his spare time growing up was spent exploring the hills around his hometown Wawa. It soon became clear that to progress in his passion, the rugged terrain of British Columbia was a snowboarder's paradise, and he set off to realize his dream by moving to Whistler in December 2015. It was an intense struggle at first, but in persevering his pain tolerance increased and his confidence grew. Before long Colton was riding faster and better than many able bodied riders, and the first season in his new surroundings he finished a successful season in the mountains riding 50+ days. Colton next set his sites on earning a spot on Canada's paralympic team.
Canada Snowboard recently announced the 7-rider team selected to create the Canadian ParalympicTeam headed to PyeongChang for the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games and Colton's determination paid off: Colton Liddle (Wawa), Michelle Salt (Calgary), Sendrine Hamel (Saint-Sauveur), Alex Massie (Barrie), Andrew Genge (Oshawa), Curt Minard (Vernon) and John Leslie (Arnprior). Only two of the team members, John Leslie and Michelle Salt have competed before in Sochi, and join the others poised for victory in their Paralympic debut. The team has much success to build upon coming off one of their most successful World Cup seasons in history and came third in the overall Nations Cup standing, the first time Canada has reached the podium in the Nations Cup games.
The World Para Snowboard event first made its debut in Sochi 2014 Paralympic World Games and athletes are again set to compete in PyeongChang March 9-18 so stay tuned to your Olympic station where Colton is well positioned to compete in the disciplines of Para Snowboard Cross (SBX), and the new addition to the discipline Banked Slalom. The SBX is a discipline where athletes race on a course with terrain features such as vertical drops, banks, rollers, spines, jumps and wu-tangs taking approximately 40-70 seconds to run. Competitors race two riders per heat and the first placed competitor advances from round to round with the winner crossing the finish line first. The Banked Slalom athletes race on a course with banked turns, vertical drops and straight aways taking approximately 30-90 seconds. All competitors take three timed runs with the best timed run determining the final winner.
I was fortunate to talk personally to Colton by phone at an arranged time when he was at a cell serviced area. I didn't have many questions prepared as my main objective was to wish him well and get a feel for his frame of mind.....in a word - Pumped! Colton, medals won or a valiant effort given our community joins with your family, friends and the rest of Canada in wishing you and your team well. And when folks muse about some kid from Wawa who knows his away around the slopes, we can all brag. "Yes that would be our snowboarder extraordinaire Paralympic star Colton Liddle."