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This exceptional Thunder Bay athlete enjoyed a competitive career spanning the 1970s, 80s, and 90s claiming medals in a number of sports at all levels of competition. In just her second year of competitive involvement, Linda claimed gold in swimming and basketball and silver in bowling at the Northern Ontario Games for the Physically Disabled. Over the next several years she developed her swimming skills, accumulating over 20 gold medals in swimming alone, as well as winning medals in other disciplines at the regional level. Not surprisingly, in 1978 and 1979 she was voted the best CP Athlete in her events, and in 1984 and 1989, the top female athlete at the Regional games.

Competing at the provincial level from 1978 to 1995, Linda was a stand out. Her record of success included 15 gold medals, 9 silver, and 2 bronze medals and breaking provincial records as well. One of the provinces' first female CP weightlifters, she set a provincial record in her weight class in 1988. A highlight of her career was the 1987 Provincial Games where she not only met the Duke and Duchess of York, but she claimed 4 gold medals in swimming and 1 in weightlifting. Her accomplishments earned her an Achievement Award from the Province of Ontario in 1987 and in 1991 she was named the Ontario CP Athlete of the Year.

Breaking onto the national scene in 1987, Linda won 3 gold medals in the pool at the first Cerebral Palsy Sports National Championships. At the Canadian Foresters National Games, she won a total of 11 gold, 7 silver, and set a Canadian record. Representing Canada at the International Cup in Perpignan France in 1993, Linda retired from competition in 1995.

Linda has always been a role model, encouraging other athletes to compete, and potential fans to spectate. She coached while in training between 1985-88, and was Vice-President of the Superior Athletics Club from 1988-89, passing on her talents and commitment to other athletes.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 26, 1998

Linda Kontunen (Cairns)

Thunder Bay
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