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The Globe and Mail

Canadian para-skier Josh Dueck appears on 'Ellen DeGeneres Show'

Disabled skier Josh Dueck. (Jeff Bassett for the Globe and Mail)

Jeff Bassett

Last week Good Morning America. This week the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Josh Dueck and his exploits on the ski hill are getting noticed.

Earlier this month, the 30-year-old from Kimberley, B.C. — a paraplegic since 2004 — became the first athlete to successfully land a back flip on a sit ski.

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The moment was captured on film Feb. 3 in Whistler, B.C., and since then, Dueck has become something of a celebrity.

In addition to his jump being viewed more than 600,000 times on YouTube, it's been featured on Good Morning America and ESPN. And on Wednesday, Dueck was a guest on DeGeneres' daytime talk show along with veteran comedian Kevin Nealon, Grey's Anatomy star Ellen Pompeo and country singer Dierks Bentley.

DeGeneres had seen the video of Dueck's jump and said she wanted to meet him.

"I'm so happy to meet you," she said after Dueck joined her onstage, sliding out of his wheelchair into an oversized red chair. "They showed me this several days ago and I was like 'Please can we have him on the show, can I meet him? What an inspiring story that is."'

Dueck was clearly thrilled to meet the star comedian.

"You have no idea how excited I am," he told DeGeneres, rubbing his hands together gleefully.

Dueck was paralyzed eight years ago in a crash doing a demonstration jump.

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"I wanted to sit up, but I couldn't," Dueck explained to DeGeneres.

He goes on to tell her that he had the idea to do the flip while he was recovering in the hospital and started practising a couple of years ago.

Dueck, whose wife Lacey was in the audience, left the show with a couple of souvenirs. DeGeneres presented him with a white ski helmet mounted with a camera as well as a bright blue jacket featuring the word "Freedom" across the stomach, a nod to a similar tattoo Dueck has.

Both items were emblazoned with the show's logo.

"I hope to see you skiing in it," DeGeneres said as she gave Dueck the jacket.

"I admire you," she added. "Thanks for being here."

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