Salmon Arm’s Paralympic champion Natalie Wilkie had some advice to share about overcoming obstacles during a speech she delivered to Ranchero Elementary students Oct. 3.
As the youngest member of Team Canada at the 2018 PyeongChang Paralympic Games, Wilkie made the remarkable accomplishment of bringing home a full set of medals from cross-country ski competitions in South Korea. She earned a bronze medal in the 1.5km sprint, a silver in the four person relay and stunned the world when she claimed the gold medal in the 7.5km race.
On Oct. 3 Wilkie visited Ranchero Elementary in Salmon Arm — her former school — to share her story and give students a glimpse into her experience at the 2018 Paralympics and the determination it took to get her there. The event was hosted in partnership with Petro-Canada’s Fuelling Athlete and Coaching Excellence program (FACE).
In 2017 Wilkie was given a boost by the program in the form of a $10,000 grant to inspirational athletes and their coaches 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 which will remain at Ranchero Elementary in honour of Wilkie’s inspiring story.