Natalie Wilkie has some advice to share about overcoming obstacles.
As a 17-year-old participating in the 2018 Paralympic Games (the youngest member of Team Canada), the former Ranchero Elementary student surprised the competition by capturing Gold in the women’s 7.5 km cross country ski race (she also won Bronze in the 1.5 km sprint and Silver in the 4 x 2.5km team relay).
The remarkable accomplishment also came less than two years after a shop class accident that saw the skier lose four fingers on her left hand.
On October 3 Wilkie shared her inspirational story with the students at her former school, and gave them a behind-the-scenes look at what life was like at the recent 2018 Paralympic Games in South Korea. She answered many questions from the students about her injury and about taking part in the Paralympics.
In 2017 Wilkie was given a boost by the Petro-Canada FACE (Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence) program. The program sees Petro-Canada, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Canadian Olympic Committee award grants ($5,000 to the athlete and $5,000 to their coach) to inspirational athletes deemed to have great potential to represent Canada at Olympic and Paralympic Games (Tomorrow’s Team Canada).
The program also gives selected athletes the chance to inspire youth in their hometowns.
After speaking to students, Wilkie presented a special framed photo to the school on behalf of the FACE program.