By the time you read this, Sanford’s Dennis Thiessen will be in Sochi as vice-skip on Canada’s wheelchair curling team in the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympic Games.
The 52-year-old, who helped start Manitoba Farmers with Disabilities after losing his leg in a farm accident at the age of 17, says he’s ready for Russia following a send-off attended by about 260 at Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Memorial Curling Club on Feb. 21.
"I’m proud to be wearing the maple leaf and representing Canada," he said.
The Winter Paralympics begin with an opening ceremony on March 7, and 54 athletes are competing for Canada.
Thiessen is a member of the same team that won the 2013 World Wheelchair Curling Championship in Sochi, so he and his teammates know the venue. This previous experience is fortunate, because Thiessen said, when interviewed by The Headliner on Feb. 27, teams are not being allowed to practice in the Ice Cube Curling Center before the Games begin.
Thiessen’s teammates are skip Jim Armstrong from Cambridge, Ont., second Ina Forrest from Armstrong, B.C., lead Sonja Gaudet from Vernon, B.C., and alternate Mark Ideson from London, Ont.
Their first match is against Great Britain on March 8, then they will play against Russia and Sweden.
"The first three teams we play are our main competitors," he said.
They defeated Sweden at last year’s Worlds on the last rock.
The Headliner will track the Canadian team’s progress at Sochi with online updates at www.winnipegfreepress.com/our-communities/