LOS ANGELES, USA (Feb. 15, 2012) – Josh Dueck, a member of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team, had a once in a lifetime experience Tuesday as a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Dueck, of Kimberley, B.C., was invited to appear on the hit talk-variety show after a video of the sit-skier performing a backflip went viral on YouTube. The 30-year-old’s appearance is due to be aired Wednesday.
“It was amazing,” said Dueck, who made the trip to Los Angeles, USA, with his wife Lacey, to take part in the filming of the show. “It’s so good to meet someone that is so grounded and that down to earth, but also that has that celebrity power. She was a treat to work with.”
Dueck, a former freestyle coach who lived to be on the slopes, broke his back in 2004 when he overshot a demonstration jump and lost the use of his legs.
On Feb. 3, he realized a dream to become the first athlete to complete a back flip in a sit-ski and the YouTube video of the flip gained widespread attention and was noticed by Degeneres herself. According to the show’s website, “Ellen saw the incredible, inspirational and heart-stopping footage and had to meet him!”
“I was for sure more nervous today to be on the Ellen show than I was with the thought of doing a back flip,” said Dueck.
During the show, the 31-year-old and DeGeneres spoke about the accident that caused his paralysis and how he transitioned from the accident to completing a back flip on a sit-ski. “I’m always deeply emotional talking about that story and going back to my accident, because when I do share that part of my life it does become very real,” Dueck said. “There’s parts of that story that are really heavy, but chatting with Ellen just seemed like a breeze. She was just so easy-going and we were able to lift the conversation up. “It was a real big win, for sure, for the amount of people that are going to see this and maybe be inspired to overcome their challenges and obstacles in their life.”
Dueck also got to meet country-music star Dierks Bentley, who along with Ellen Pompeo, of Grey’s Anatomy, were guests on the show. In addition to performing, Bentley surprised a military family with some help to overcome an obstacle of their own. “He was awesome,” Dueck said. “He pulled me aside in the back and said, ‘Hey man, so good to meet ya, I really like what you’re doing,’ and I told him, ‘Love what you did out there.’ He made a presentation to a family in need, a military family that was going through some hard times, and he made a donation and a gesture to them that was really heartfelt. It softened me up a little bit for sure - I was really impressed.”
The show was pre-taped on Tuesday, just outside of Los Angeles in Burbank - on Valentine’s Day. While Dueck and his wife were the area for less than 24 hours, they still managed a bit of sight-seeing. “Valentine’s Day in L.A. was great, absolutely,” Dueck said. “We just went around and did a little shopping, we did the star walk, went to a couple of restaurants and we went to Universal Studios. We actually packed a lot in the very short period that we had.”
Following the taping of the show, Dueck and his wife raced to the airport in order to get to Kimberley by early Wednesday morning. Dueck is due to take part in a para-alpine Nor-Am Cup downhill training run Wednesday afternoon before racing a downhill Thursday and a super-G Friday. “I’m super pumped to race,” said Dueck. “My coach sent me a video of the track with all the guys training on it, so I have a pretty good idea what the hill is going to run like.
“The thing I really love around racing is that’s where I get to clear my head. There’s a lot of other exciting peripherals happening right now - media, television and this back-flip that’s got me super-inspired and excited but also keeps me super-busy. So when I get back on the mountain, it gives me such a great opportunity to clear my head.”
Once the racing season is over Dueck will be able to set off on his next ski adventure, with a few parting gifts from DeGeneres. “She gave me a rad ski jacket with my freedom tattoo in the exact same spot across the front of the jacket and a shot of the back-flip on the back of the jacket,” Dueck said. “Then she gave me a super speckled-out Ellen helmet with a GoPro (camera) so I can film my next adventure. “What a kind a gesture from such a kind person.”Watch Dueck’s back flip. http://youtu.be/4xjUUf_sK84