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Josh Dueck’s backflip earns sit-skier a spot on National Geographic top-10 adventures list

Josh Dueck/Getty Images

Canadian sit-skier Josh Dueck has become accustomed to doing the impossible, but even he has a hard time believing his latest achievement.

Dueck, a 31-year-old from Kimberley, B.C., made history this year by becoming the first person to complete a backflip on a sit-ski. That amazing stunt helped him be chosen as one of 10 National Geographic Adventures of the Year.

''(It) was pretty amazing,'' the Canadian Paralympic athlete said in a release. ''That was right up there with finding out I was invited to be on the Ellen show, in terms of how excited I was.''

Dueck started to gain international attention a year ago when his documentary the ''The Freedom Chair'' started to gain critical acclaim at film festivals. The film tells the story of Dueck's journey after a life-changing spinal-cord injury. Watch "The Freedom Chair" trailer.

In February Dueck did something no one had done before when he completed his backflip. The video of the gravity-defying feat went viral and he appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

On its website, National Geographic says it selected the 2013 adventurers because of ''their remarkable achievements in exploration, conservation, humanitarianism, and adventure sports.'' Austrian Felix Baumgartner, who in October broke the sound barrier with his free-fall from space, is also among those selected.

Each year the public chooses one of the ten nominees as the People's Choice Adventurer of the Year. Fans can vote daily at until Jan. 16, 2013. The winner will be announced in Feb. 2013.

''It's just this incredible platform to continue to work off of," Dueck said. "Because as an athlete and as a person, that's one thing I really want to continue to promote is the benefits of being adventurous, of playing outside, especially now when it's so easy for us to be consumed by technology and smart phones and computers and the Internet."

Dueck's life changed in 2004 while working as a freestyle ski coach. He misjudged a jump during training and suffered a spinal-cord injury that left him a paraplegic. His love for skiing continued and Dueck returned to the mountains on a sit-ski.

Dueck was a silver medal in slalom at the 2010 Vancouver Paralymic Games. He also is a downhill world champion and has five International Paralympic Committee World Cup podiums.

''Josh has a unique zest for life and a great love for skiing,'' said Brianne Law, athletic director of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team. ''I think it's incredible the way he's created opportunities to break boundaries and inspired others to do the same.''

Other 2012 Adventurers include Baumgartner, artist Renan Ozturk, climber David Lama, explorer Mike Libecki, humanitarian Shannon Galpin, kayaker Steve Fisher, snowboarder Jeremy Jones, surfer Ramon Navarro and ultrarunner Lizzy Hawker.

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