Lori Radke grew up in Ponoka and was recently awarded the 2008 Investors Group Amateur Athletes Fund Bursary and made the 2008 Canadian Wheelchair basketball team. The Investors Group annually awards 20 bursaries worth $5,000 to assist Canadians amateur athletes with the cost of training and competition.
“I feel very fortunate to be chosen. Athletes had applied across Canada. It is a relief because the money will come in handy leading up to Beijing, our team will be traveling two weeks a month and there will be extra costs for child care and leaving work,” said Radke.
The selection criteria includes; athletic achievement, financial need and community involvement. Since 2000 the fund has provided $900,000 to athletes, which is administered by AthletesCAN.
Her community involvement includes organizing demonstrations with community and local groups and doing sport demonstrations. She is also the president of her local wheelchair club for the past two years and seven other years.
“Lori is an excellent example of an athlete who is making a difference both in her sport and in her community,” says AthletesCAN executive director Jasmine Northcott. “AthletesCAN is excited to see the great things this bursary will help her achieve.”
Radke went to Ponoka Composite High School, after graduation she went to the University of Alberta and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy in 1988. She currently works as a physical therapist in palliative home care in Calgary.
Radke had been on the Canadian National Wheelchair women’s basketball team since 1994 and recently made the team that will be competing at the summer Paralympics in Beijing. She was always active in sports until knee injuries rendered both her knees unstable. In spite of several surgical reconstructions on both knees she was forced to retire from stand-up sports in 1992. She started playing wheelchair basketball in 1993 after hearing about it from friends in Red Deer.
“It’s outstanding to have the opportunity to play at this level. I was an able body athlete and got hurt and now to have another opportunity to do that is like a second chance to be able to play sport at that level,” said Radke. “ It is an honour to play on team Canada.”
She has won numerous competitions and medals including gold at the Atlanta Paralympics in 1996, gold in Sydney and bronze in Athens. Team Canada has also not lost the World Championship since 1991.
“I love playing the game and it is very fun and challenging and I always feel like I am still learning how to get better. I still am able to compete at this level and be on the national team and I will just kept playing,” said Radke. “It keeps me in shape and is still fun. Once it stops being fun I will quit but I haven’t gotten to that point yet.”
To follow Radke on her Olympic journey visit www.cwba.ca.