From a helicopter accident in 2007 which resulted in a spinal cord injury and quadriplegia, Team Canada’s Mark Ideson never knew the purpose curling would ultimately give him. It is this purpose that fuels Mark’s determination to succeed and inspires him to live life – both on and off the ice – to the absolute fullest.
As an able-bodied athlete, Mark had been involved with a variety of sports (from rugby, to golf, to hockey, cheerleading and more), but with his new abilities, he longed for that sense of community and belonging. When he discovered curling, it instantly became his whole world.
“I didn’t realize the purpose curling would give me post-accident, it gave me something to focus my attention on and to strive for. It also filled in that teammate gap I had been missing.” Mark explained.
“I value the friendships I’ve made; my teammates are my second family. I would encourage any person, young or old, to give sport a try. It can be intimidating to learn something new but the fulfillment that comes from being active and social makes it worth it.
[…] I can’t see where I’d be without curling or the people I’ve met along the way”
The benefits of sport post accident motivates Mark to share his curling story.
“I really enjoy sharing my story at schools and with other wheelchair users. I hope that sharing my experiences can inspire others, even if it’s just one person.”
He encourages them to get out and try the sport, because curling is a sport for everyone, and in his experience, the best part of the game is the strategy.
“It’s like chess on ice. We’re always trying to improve the technical part of our game while continually learning about the tactics. The biggest challenge is bringing all of the parts of the game together, including each teammate’s tendencies, in the big moments that mean the most”
Mark is a two-time Paralympian, winning gold at Sochi 2014 and bronze at 2018 Pyeongchang. He’s also won gold at the 2013 world wheelchair curling championship and silver in 2020. With numerous podium results, many may think capturing that gold medal at upcoming international events would be top of mind. However, as a true leader, Mark only spoke of an ultimate goal that remains constant: to listen to the heartbeat of the team.
“I want to be the best teammate I can be. Be supportive, understanding; listen. We work better together when we support each other and listen to each other’s needs. My goal as a leader is to blend in and listen to the heartbeat of the team; lead by example. Always trying to improve and adapt and show up with a desire to learn.”
Forever a student of the game, Mark’s tenacity to win is ever-present in any game you watch his team play. So to what does Mark Ideson attribute to his continued success?
“Be patient with yourself and do what you love. Life’s too short to not do what you love and spend time with the people that mean the most to you. If you can be a good teammate and a good friend, you will have a happy life.”
Do you have a story that showcases how much you love curling? Whether it’s entertaining, accomplished, or inspirational – Curling Day in Canada wants to celebrate the Canada-wide curling community memories, all year long.
Join Mark Ideson and share your story for the chance to WIN a 2023 Tim Hortons Brier prize package!
Story submission deadline is 11:59 PM (ET) on January 23, 2022. Full contest details can be found here.