March 15, 2014, SOCHI, RUS. (ISN) – Sixteen-year-old Mac Marcoux – the youngest member of the Canadian Paralympic team – proved that age doesn’t matter when it comes to winning Paralympic medals when he captured gold in men’s giant slalom at the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games on Saturday, adding to the two bronze medals he claimed earlier in the Games.
In his final race of his first Paralympics, Marcoux, of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and guide Robin Fémy, from Mont-Tremblant, Que., led from start to finish in the men’s visually impaired category, dominating in their first of two runs and easily maintaining their lead in the second run.
“It’s so awesome. It’s still setting in. I’ve never been so exited after a race,” said Marcoux, who won with a two-run combined time of two minutes, 29.62 seconds. “When we crossed the finish line and Rob told me we won, my heart stopped for a second. I crashed into him and just couldn’t speak.
“All of what has happened at Sochi has exceeded my expectations,” Marcoux added. “I never thought I would win a medal, let alone three.”
Marcoux and Fémy only began skiing together two weeks ago when Marcoux’s regular guide and older brother, BJ Marcoux, injured his back. Marcoux and Fémy put any doubts of their fledgling partnership to rest early in the Games by winning bronze in downhill and super-G – even winning their super-G medal with a broken radio headset and no communication.
Immediately following Saturday’s giant slalom, BJ, who has been by his brother’s side all week, ran to Marcoux and the two embraced in a teary hug.
“That was a pretty emotional hug. We both broke down a little bit,” Marcoux said. “We’ve been through everything together since we first started skiing together eight years ago and he has been the most supportive person. This is as much his medal as it is mine.”
“I was so nervous watching him. I could hardly breathe and I think my heart stopped at some point,” BJ added. “When he crossed the line ahead, it was the best feeling I’ve ever had in my life. When I got to hug him afterwards, it was so special to be able to have that moment with him. I broke down – I couldn’t help it. I’m so happy for him.”
Fémy, who is also skiing in his first Paralympics, called the rush of winning a gold medal “indescribable.”
“To cross that finish line and see we won was an incredible, indescribable feeling,” Fémy said. “We were definitely hoping for another medal and to have gold is unbelievable.”
As youngster Marcoux wraps up his first Paralympics with three medals, veteran Chris Williamson, from Toronto, Ont., skied in his final Paralympic race on Saturday. Williamson, who won bronze in men’s slalom on Thursday, said he feels like he is passing the torch to Marcoux.
“I have a huge mix of emotions here at my last Paralympics, but I’m so pleased to have a medal and it’s pretty clear that visually impaired skiing in Canada is in good hands with Mac!” said Williamson, who finished fifth (2:37.57).
Jakub Krako of Slovakia (2:31.66) won the silver medal in the men’s visually impaired category, and Russia’s Valerii Redkozubov earned bronze (2:33.57).
Canada’s men’s sit-skiers didn’t fare well in the giant slalom, with Josh Dueck, of Kimberley, B.C., Caleb Brousseau, from Terrace, B.C., and Calgary, Alta.’s Kurt Oatway all not finishing their first runs. Standing skier Kirk Schornstein, of Spruce Grove, Alta. finished 13th (2:40.97).
The final alpine event of the Sochi Paralympic Winter Games is women’s giant slalom on Sunday. Canada’s para-alpine team has already won eight medals in Sochi, including two gold.