Mark Ideson skipped Canada to the bronze medal in wheelchair curling at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. He played lead for Canada at the 2017 World Wheelchair Curling Championships, also in PyeongChang in March 2017, as Canada took fifth spot at the tournament. The Canadians advanced to the tie-breaker against eventual champion Norway for a berth in the semifinals, but lost the game 5-4. Still the result was a two spot improvement on its showing at the 2016 worlds.
The fifth place at the 2017 World Championships earned Canada a berth at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. Canada has won three consecutive Paralympic gold medals in wheelchair curling: 2006, 2010 and 2014.
Ideson helped Canada to the gold medal in curling in his Paralympic Games debut at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games only four years after he took up the sport. He says he was inspired to be a curler after he saw an interview on television with charismatic skeleton Olympic champion Jon Montgomery. When Montgomery spoke of taking up a sport that he could excel at and represent Canada on the world stage, Ideson knew that he too needed to find his sport. Luckily for Canada, Ideson chose wheelchair curling and he hasn’t looked back since his first on-ice experience.
Ideson’s journey into wheelchair sports began in 2007 when a helicopter he was piloting crashed in a field near Cambridge, Ont., leaving him with multiple fractures in his legs, pelvis, sternum, ribs, nose and neck, resulting in a spinal cord injury and quadriplegia. As an able-bodied athlete, Ideson was involved with a variety of team sports, but in his new life he began to miss the sense of community and belonging. Para sports and in particular, wheelchair curling, are once again giving him the pleasure of being part of a team and competing at a high level. He enjoys the opportunity to create new friendships with people he meets across the globe and he also enjoys the challenges of the game.
Just prior to going to Sochi, Ideson said, “To be representing Canada at the Paralympics is not something I would’ve ever imagined in my wildest dreams. I’m honored to do so.”