Brian McKeever wins gold for Canada
- McKeever captures 11th Paralympic gold medal and 14th overall
- Canada now has seven medals through three days
- Para ice hockey team wraps up preliminary action with 3-0 record
PyeongChang, March 12, 2018 – The Canadian Paralympic Team added another gold to its medal haul at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games on Monday, as Opening Ceremony flag bearer Brian McKeever continued to make history with his 14th Paralympic medal.
Gold – 3 Silver – 1 Bronze – 3 TOTAL – 7
TOP HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY:
• Brian McKeever (Canmore, AB) added to his legacy with a gold in the men’s visually impaired 20KM cross-country race with guides Graham Nishikawa (Whitehorse, YK) and Russell Kennedy (Canmore, AB). Making his fifth Paralympic Games appearance, the 38-year-old officially has the most medals of any Canadian Winter Paralympian with 14, edging past the late Lana Spreeman, who won 13 medals in Para alpine skiing from 1980 to 1994. McKeever now holds a remarkable 11 gold medals, three ahead of the nearest Canadian Winter Paralympic athlete, Lauren Woolstencroft with eight. McKeever is also one of the most decorated Winter Paralympians ever – only eight winter athletes have more gold medals than him.
“I wasn’t aware of this record, but it is pretty cool. I think for me more than anything is this is a testament to our entire program. We’ve had so many great skiers leading the way for me with my brother, Robin who is now coaching us, and Colette Bourgonje. Now it is awesome for me to be a part of a new generation that has arrived in Mark (Arendz), Collin Cameron, and the young women like Emily (Young), Brittany (Hudak) and Natalie (Wilkie) who are ready to carry the torch. I’m so excited to be around all of them this week and to be there cheering them on.” – Brian McKeever
• In the women’s 15KM cross-country race, Emily Young (North Vancouver, BC) posted a fifth-place finish followed closely by Natalie Wilkie (Salmon Arm, BC) in sixth. Both athletes were making their Paralympic debut.
• On the first day of Para snowboard competition, Canada just missed the podium as Michelle Salt (Calgary, AB) posted a fourth-place finish in snowboard cross in the women’s LL1 category, coming in second in the small final. Curt Minard (Weyburn, SK), John Leslie (Arnprior, ON), and Sandrine Hamel (Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts, QC) all fell in the quarter-finals of their respective races. Para snowboard is making its second appearance in the Paralympic Games, having debuted in Sochi.
“Today I rode my heart out, I put it all out on the course and I couldn’t be happier with my fourth-place finish. I also just want to say a big thanks to Canada for all the love and support. I feel like I was able to accept my fourth-place finish today because I had my country behind me and I know that no matter what they are proud.” – Michelle Salt
• Canada wrapped up preliminary Para ice hockey action with an 8-0 victory over Norway. The team cruised through their first three games without giving up a single goal and will finish first atop Group A, advancing to the semifinals on Thursday. Against Norway, first-time Paralympian Rob Armstrong (Erin, ON) led the way with two goals and an assist, while veteran Billy Bridges (Summerside, PEI) also notched two past the Norwegian goaltender.
“I think I just need to keep working to my skill set and place that into the team system. Whatever they need me to do – if that means getting in the corner, getting a pass out, that’s what I hope to do; just work within my skill set and not change anything.” – Rob Armstrong
“Norway is a good team, and they play a defensive style. It took some second efforts from guys like (Brad) Bowden and Armstrong to open it up for us and we were able to get rolling. We expected this from Norway, they’re a good team and play a defensive style and their goaltender played outstanding. Our guys stuck together, played as a team and we were able to get out of penalty trouble. Dom (Larocque) came and made a couple of saves, it was good and the guys played a clean game.” – Ken Babey, Head Coach
• In wheelchair curling, Canada was dealt its first two losses of the Games so far, falling to South Korea 7-5 in morning play and then Great Britain 8-1 in the evening. The team’s record is now 3-2. The top four teams after round-robin play will advance to the semifinals.
“You know, some days you’re one with the rock. Other days, it’s like you're two completely different entities. We just didn’t have the zen of curling today.” – Ina Forrest (Armstrong, BC)