Lonnie Bissonnette, an elite extreme athlete from Canada, is one of the world’s most prolific BASE jumpers. Highly respected and admired by his peers and community at large, Lonnie was injured July 2004 while attempting a quadruple gainer (a gainer is an outward facing, inward rotating flip) on his 1100th BASE jump off a 486 ft (150m) high bridge. The lines of his parachute tangled around his foot not allowing his parachute to fully open during the fall. Lonnie crashed into the river at a speed of about 70 miles per hour (113km/hr), severely breaking several bones in his body, neck and spine, and suffering a spinal-cord injury leaving him paralyzed. Lucky to have survived that accident, he was told by his doctor he would never jump again.
Unhindered by the effects of the spinal cord injury, Lonnie was back flying in the sky within twelve months post accident. He then made his rounds and jumped off all four objects in B.A.S.E (Buildings, Antennae, Span, Earth) again, thereby earning himself the distinction of being the world’s first ever paraplegic BASE jumper to have jumped from all four of the objects. Lonnie Bissonnette is Para-BASE #1. He currently is still the only paraplegic BASE jumper in the world to have jumped off of all four objects.
Lonnie is a man driven to always push his limits, to strive to do more and better himself. Not only has he set the record of being Para-BASE #1, Lonnie became an endurance wheelchair athlete in February 2012 when he took part in Rick Hansen’s 25th Anniversary Relay. Inspired by Rick Hansen and his Man in Motion World Tour, Lonnie pleaded with the organizing committee to let him wheel not just one but TWO legs of the relay. Head strong and taking the challenge full on with no training leading up to the relay, Lonnie wheeled 840 miles (1400 km) within one month across the Canadian prairies, from Winnipeg to Calgary, in the middle of winter. This is just one of his ways of pushing his own personal limits while actively giving back to the community.
People often praise Lonnie citing he is an inspiration, a hero, a legend. He quickly brushes aside such recognition feeling uncomfortable with the attention. Lonnie Bissonnette the elite extreme athlete is simply a humble and authentic man. When asked to describe himself, he would say… stubborn. Lonnie does what he does simply for the love of life and the ecstasy of pure flight.