Canada earns six medals at PyeongChang 2018

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Brian McKeever (right) with guide Russell Kennedy (left) captured his 12th Paralympic gold medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games on Wednesday .PHOTO: CANADIAN PARALYMPIC COMMITTEE

The Canadian Paralympic Team had much to celebrate on the fifth day of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games as Canada captured a remarkable six medals on Wednesday – one gold and five bronze. With four days to go, Canada has matched its total medals from Sochi 2014 with 16, and the nation sits tied for third overall with Ukraine in total medal count in PyeongChang.

MEDAL CHART:

Gold – 5 Silver – 1 Bronze – 10 TOTAL – 16

                              
TOP HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY:

  • Brian McKeever (Canmore, AB) clinched his second gold medal in PyeongChang with a win in the 1.5KM men’s visually impaired sprint alongside guide Russell Kennedy (Canmore, AB). McKeever and Kennedy took the lead on the last turn of the race and sped through the final stretch to cross the finish line first. Already the most decorated Canadian Winter Paralympian of all-time, McKeever continues to add to his long list of accomplishments. He now has 12 gold medals (tied for sixth overall at the Winter Paralympic Games) and 15 total.
    “These sprint races are miserable. They are so hard. The young guys are fast, and have natural snap. There is so much stress in sprint racing, and it goes all day long. I’m much more comfortable with the longer distances. But it was a great day for us. Russell carried the load for us today, and just thrilled we were able to cross the line first.” – Brian McKeever
  • Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm, BC) raced to a bronze medal in the women’s standing 1.5KM cross-country race for her first Paralympic medal. At 17 years and two months old, she is the youngest member of the Canadian Paralympic Team. In the same race, Emily Young (North Vancouver, BC) and Brittany Hudak (Prince Albert, SK) finished fourth and sixth in the same final, respectively.
    “It feels so awesome. This is my first Paralympics and I am just so happy to have won a medal. We are competing against each other, but we are also helping each other. It was calming for me to have them there with me. We talked about strategy as a team before the final because the goal was for us to win a medal for Canada.” – Natalie Wilkie, on racing in the final alongside two other Canadian women
  • It was a photo finish for Mark Arendz (Hartsville, PEI) in the men’s standing 1.5KM sprint. Arendz crossed the finish line not knowing if he had medaled before it was determined he and Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto crossed the finish line at the exact same time to tie for the bronze medal. It’s the 27-year-old’s first cross-country medal of these Games to go along with a silver and bronze won in biathlon. His total Paralympic medal count now stands at five.
    “Sitting there in the finish waiting for the results of the photo finish, I was just hoping for a tie. It was a really good race but I made a mistake down the finishing stretch switching to try and find a faster track and that may have cost me the whole race. I came here for medals in biathlon and was hoping to get my first one in cross-country. To come away with my first bronze in cross-country skiing means a lot. I couldn’t be happier.” – Mark Arendz
  • Eighteen-year-old Mollie Jepsen (West Vancouver, BC) continues to be a breakout star for Canada at these Games, announcing herself as one of the best women’s standing skiers in the world. Jepsen clinched her third medal of PyeongChang 2018 with a bronze in the giant slalom. This matches her hardware won in the downhill to go along with gold in the super combined. Alana Ramsay (Calgary, AB), a two-time medallist in PyeongChang, finished fourth.
    I’ve definitely had a big confidence boost since I’ve been here, so I’ve just been trying to attack the course every single day. When you have a good thing going on a hill – the crowd, good runs – it makes you want to attack more each day. It’s exciting.” – Mollie Jepsen
  • Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) won his first-ever Paralympic medal with a bronze in the men’s standing giant slalom. He is the first Canadian male standing Para alpine skier to win a medal in 20 years. The podium performance comes on the heels of two tight fourth-place finishes in the downhill and super-G races. Guimond, age 18, sat in sixth place following the first giant slalom run but laid down the fastest time in the second run to bump himself up and earn the bronze medal.
    “This is a dream come true for me. I’ve dreamt about the Paralympics since I was six years old, so being a medallist at my first Paralympics is an amazing feeling. It’s just magical for me.” – Alexis Guimond
  • Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) rebounded from two did-not-finishes in his past two events to capture a bronze medal in the giant slalom, his second podium performance of the Games. A gold medal winner in the downhill on day one, Marcoux and guide Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) entered the second giant slalom run of the day in fourth place but skied fast enough to move up to third. Twenty-year-old Marcoux now has five Paralympic medals, two from PyeongChang to go along with a gold and two bronze from Sochi 2014.
    “In the first run today, my mind wasn’t really in the right space. I was just trying to ski to the finish, but I was having a few little battles with myself, and we skied kind of conservatively. Those two super-G runs I didn’t finish were starting to get in my mind a little bit. But in the second run today we were feeling a bit better and skied faster – still not 100 per cent – but it was enough to step up and make it on the podium. I think now that we have that out of the way, we’re ready for slalom.” – Mac Marcoux
  • The drama continued early at the Gangneung Curling Centre as Canada’s wheelchair curlers pulled off another late triumph to open their day, 5-4 over the Neutral Paralympic Athletes. But they closed out the night with a more straightforward 9-5 win over Slovakia to push their record to 7-2 with just two games remaining in round-robin play. Making his debut in the evening game was alternate James Anseeuw (Oak Bluff, MB), who is the oldest member of the Canadian Paralympic Team at 58 years old. The team is in good position to qualify for the semifinals, as they sit tied for second place.
    “I was excited to get out there. We were up quite a bit so they decided to give me a shot at it. I was a little nervous. I started halfway through the game, and went out there cold. So, you do your best!” –  James Anseeuw

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