Courtney Knight

2008 Ski Nationals Skate Race Photo.jpg

From a young age, Courtney has been in competitive sport.   Despite being visually impaired with just 10% normal vision (a perk of being born with albinism), she participated in a variety of sports, including equestrian, soccer, cross country skiing and track and field. In 1992, she qualified for her first Paralympic Games in the sport of athletics where she finished fourth in the F13 discus. From then until 2004, she competed in both the F13 discus and P13 pentathlon events, setting multiple Canadian records. She also medalled at every international competition she competed in as a member of Athletics Canada’s national team, including one bronze (Athens 2004) and two silver (Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000) Paralympic Games medals and was chosen as Canada’s flag bearer at two international events. However, in late 2004, the International Paralympic Committee restructured the Paralympic Games event program and deleted the events Courtney had been competing in.

Facing what seemed like forced retirement from high performance sport, Courtney attended a Cross Country Canada development camp in 2005 simply to improve technique for enjoyment of the sport. With the encouragement of national development team coaching staff, Courtney realized that she could once again compete at an elite level and set a new goal of representing Canada at the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Games. With the support of the Nordic Racers, including coaches Tony Chin, Jamie Stirling and Kathy Oxner, teammate Mary Benson and guide Andrea McCaughan (née Bundon), Courtney had the experience of a lifetime competing in front of the home crowd at the 2010 Paralympic Games here in Vancouver. She and Andrea finished 8th in the 1km classic sprint and 9th in both the 5km classic and sprint biathlon events.

After the 2010 Paralympics, Courtney became one of the founding members of the Nordic Racers’ Skiing is Believing adaptive ski clinics designed to introduce skiers with physical disabilities to the sport. Her work with Nordic Racers, in combination with her personal experiences of living with a visual impairment, led Courtney to pursue a degree in recreation therapy at Douglas College. She was selected as valedictorian for the spring 2017 graduation her innovative approach to recreation therapy. She currently works as a recreation therapist with Vancouver Coastal Health at Vancouver General Hospital.

When asked what she most enjoyed about being a member of Nordic Racers, Courtney stated it was the sense of camaraderie from other members and support from the board for adaptive programming. “I loved my time with the club - it’s not often you find a group of people who want to work tirelessly so others have more opportunities to ski and yet make it so much fun that it rarely actually felt like work.” And though her racing days are done, Courtney still enjoys skiing recreationally with friends at Whistler Olympic Park and Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, her two favourite ski destinations. 

Nordic Racers