Kurt Oatway gets downhill redemption with super-G gold
Alana Ramsay nabs bronze
PYEONGCHANG, KOR (March 11, 2018) — Para alpine skier Kurt Oatway made the ultimate comeback by winning Saturday’s super-G event at the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea. Following a disappointing eighth-place result in the men’s downhill event the day before – a race he was favoured to do well in – Oatway refocused and fought his way to the top of the podium on Friday to win gold. Teammate Alana Ramsay did the same in the women’s race, clinching bronze.
“It’s hard to explain how good I feel right now,” said Oatway (Calgary, AB) following his first-ever Paralympic medal. At the Sochi Paralympics he placed ninth in the super-G. “Yesterday’s downhill was a big disappointment for me. Coming back and winning the super-G is the best feeling ever. I went from feeling super low, to super high. It’s amazing.”
The 34-year-old sit-skier finished in one minute, 25.83 seconds – more than a second ahead of silver medallist Andrew Kurka of the USA. At the first interval of his run, Oatway lagged behind the leader by 0.23 seconds, but he gained speed in the lower portions of the course with a clean line and purposeful turns. When he rocketed across the finish line, he let out a satisfied shout and pumped his fists.
“When I crossed the line, I saw the green light on the scoreboard before I saw number one,” he said of the moment. “Green means go, and to see that flash across was so rewarding.”
The notoriously competitive sit-ski category didn’t disappoint on Saturday; it saw a number of wipeouts, close calls and fast runs, as well as a few unexpected results. Japanese powerhouses Akira Kano and Taiki Morrii, who won gold and silver in Sochi, finished fifth and eighth, respectively.
In the finish area, retired Canadian sit-skier and Paralympic champion Josh Dueck embraced Oatway – his former teammate – in a tearful hug. At the Sochi Paralympics in 2014, Dueck won gold in the men’s super-combined and silver in downhill. He is in PyeongChang commentating for the CBC broadcast. Dueck said Oatway’s golden moment is a special one, because it speaks to Canada’s success through different generations of skiers, and to its strong sit-ski technology.
“I think it’s amazing to see the legacy continue to build,” Dueck said. “The sit-ski technology that the Canadian team has worked to develop allows its athletes to fulfill and perform in the moment, at exactly the right time.”
The Canadian team has collaborated with Sport Canada and the Own the Podium program for the past 10 years to develop and fine-tune sit-ski technology that Head Coach Jean-Sébastien Labrie calls “the best in the world.”
“I think this result today shows what we as Canadians are capable of on snow,” Dueck added. “Through this innovation, and all of the support behind it, we’ve elevated ourselves to a place of greatness and have shown that we can be leaders in this sport.”
Ramsay reaches Paralympic podium for the first time with bronze
Ramsay, 24, won women’s bronze in 1:35:20. This is her first Paralympic medal. She raced in the Sochi 2014 Games as a prospect athlete to gain experience.
“It has been a long four years,” she said. “Going to Sochi as a prospect was a little different. Now, coming here and having that experience behind me and finally getting on the podium, it really means a lot to me.”
Ramsay teared up as she hoisted her skis in the air at the venue’s flower ceremony.
“In that moment, I felt really proud to be Canadian.”
Ramsay was disappointed with her result in the women’s downhill event the day before, where she missed the podium by just one spot. She dug deep and drove hard on a technical course to make it on the podium Saturday.
“This is something I really wanted. After yesterday’s race, I turned the drive around and really went for it. There was no one who was going to stop me today.”
Mollie Jepsen (West Vancouver, BC) – bronze medallist in Friday’s downhill – finished fourth.
Mac Marcoux and Jack Leitch miss chance at second Paralympic medal in PyeongChang
Fan favourites Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) and Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) were laying down the fastest run of the day and were well on their way to back-to-back wins when Marcoux heartbreakingly slid out and did not finish the race.
“I’m disappointed, but I still feel really good heading into the next race,” Marcoux said. “I’ve always said I want to be satisfied with the way I ski, and I was up until I went out.”
Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) missed the podium by one spot for the second day in a row. He was also fourth in Friday’s downhill.
ALL CANADIAN RESULTS: Men’s and Women’s Super-G, PyeongChang, South Korea
1 - Kurt Oatway (Calgary, AB) – Men’s sitting
4 – Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) - Men’s standing
7 – Kirk Schornstein (Spruce Grove, AB) – Men’s standing
8 – Braydon Luscombe (Duncan, BC) – Men’s standing
DNF - Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) and guide Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) – Men’s visually impaired
1 – Alana Ramsay (Calgary, AB) – Women’s standing
4 – Mollie Jepsen (West Vancouver, BC) – Women’s standing
9 – Erin Latimer (Toronto, ON) – Women’s standing
11 – Mel Pemble (Victoria, BC) – Women’s Standing
DNF – Frederique Turgeon (Candiac, QC) – Women’s standing
Click here for detailed results
NEXT EVENT: Monday, March 12: 8:30 PM ET - Men's and Women’s Super-Combined
Click here for the full Paralympic schedule
All Para alpine events are available live online at cbc.ca/paralympics or paralympic.org, with additional coverage on CBC TV, Sportsnet and AMI. In addition, anyone can broadcast the events from your own Facebook or Twitter feed by signing up at GreatnessIsRare.ca.
Paralympic para-alpine media attache