Janice Boucher is already in the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame, and now she may have to be re-inducted for her success in another sport.
Three years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Boucher found her way back to the top of the podium on the world stage.
Trading in her bow for a saddle, Boucher won gold at the 2017 World Para Reining International Championship with Team Canada, alongside Paralympian Lauren Barwick Thursday in Ermelo, Netherlands.
“Just because you have a disability doesn’t mean that you have to stop everything,” Boucher told paNOW on the phone from the Netherlands as she fought tears. “You need to be able to keep going and realize that there are other doors that will open and people that can help.”
Boucher’s teammate Barwick, who hails from Langley B.C., has won more equestrian medals at major tournaments than any other Canadian rider. That includes three Paralympic medals in 2008 at Beijing. Hearing the Canadian national anthem while on the podium is nothing new to Barwick, but to Boucher, it was everything.
“It makes you feel very proud. It was an amazing moment,” Boucher said. “She’s had the national anthem played quite a few times because she’s a Paralympian. She said ‘Janice, have you ever felt anything like this before?’ And I said, ‘no.’ It was emotional, but a very great experience.”
The transition between the two sports was one that Boucher took in stride and continued to work at reining along with the help of her brother and coach Daryl Cartier.
“That’s one door closed and other one open,” Boucher said. “That gave me the opportunity to join this organization and become a part of a world class event.”
“When I was doing archery, I was really devoted to archery. I did it all the time, I was at the worlds three times,” Boucher added. “Winning the first year I went [in 1995], then I started riding a little more. The rest is basically history, I just kept working at it.”
Boucher is still in the Netherlands as she is still up to compete for the individual events.
This is Boucher’s second kick at the Para Reining Championships. Last year, she picked up a silver medal in the team event in Oklahoma.
On Twitter: @jeff_paNOW
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