UNITY — A special visitor came to St. Peter’s School April 6. Lisa DeJong, Paralympian silver medalist, shared her sports journey with staff and students. DeJong’s niece, Alexa Goring, is a student at St. Peter’s School.
Born with Tibial Hemimelia (missing an ankle plate and growth plate in her leg), DeJong's foot was amputated at the age of three.
DeJong grew up in a ski family and at the age of 12, she decided to try the sport of snowboarding.
“Perseverance, or ‘having the courage and patience to believe in struggle’ and knowing that I would eventually reach my goals was a key to my success,” said DeJong
DeJong held her audience captive throughout her presentation at St. Peter's School. Students were interested in her as an athlete, her travels and her prosthetics.
"The story she told about her falling when she was learning how to snowboard and didn't give up was really inspiring. Now I want to give it another try, and I think I can do it!" – Liam
" I was so inspired by her story, and it was very thoughtful of her to come and share it with us." - Alex
DeJong participated in snowboard cross at the Beijing Paralympics. She began her snowboard career in 2019.
Following her message, students were able to hold her silver medal and her snowboarding prosthetic, while asking any questions they had about her experience.
DeJong’s brother, Jason Goring, said, “With COVID, no one was able to attend the Olympics, however, our parents have provided a lot of support helping to look after her and her husband’s children while she was away competing. DeJong’s husband owns and operates a business full time.”
As stated on her website, https://paralympic.ca/team-canada/lisa-dejong
“Para snowboarder Lisa DeJong burst onto the international stage at the 2022 World Para Snow Sports Championships with a gold in the team event (with Sandrine Hamel), and silver in both the snowboard cross and banked slalom.”
The site adds, “She had struggled through training with a knee injury when she arrived at the worlds in Lillehammer but overcame the odds to produce the best performances of her career. Just before the worlds, DeJong posted impressive results in her debut on the World Cup circuit in late 2021. That included two bronze medals in Finland in snowboard cross races and a bronze a week later in Austria in the banked slalom.”
DeJong began competing in the Nancy Green Program, then became an instructor at her local hill in Biggar, Sask. Until that point, snow sports were a hobby, but she contacted Canada Snowboard after seeing a post on Facebook and was put in touch with a coach for the Para national team, making the prospect team in 2019.
There was little opportunity to compete during the pandemic, but DeJong spent time training.
Her career highlights include three medals at the 2022 World Para Snow Sports Championships, including a gold in team event, silver in snowboard cross and banked slalom. In the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, she won a silver in snowboard cross and an eighth-place finish in banked slalom.
DeJong is the mother of two young daughters and previously worked in the oil and gas industry, which took her all over the world.