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Canucks Hudak, Cameron too hot to handle in sprints at Canmore Para Nordic world cup

The gold medals keep coming for Canada after Tuesday's sprint races at the Canmore Para Nordic Skiing World Cup.

CANMORE – Speed was the name of the game on Tuesday (Dec. 7) as two Canucks rocketed to gold medals at the Canmore Para Nordic Skiing World Cup.

Brittany Hudak and Collin Cameron won their sprint races impressively on the final day of cross-country at the Canmore Nordic Centre.

The gold was Hudak's second top outing at the Canmore world cup and third medal overall.

"To have three races and podium in all three so far is just, honestly, I'm so overwhelmed almost," said Hudak, 28. "I'm really happy about it and I feel like my shape is in a good spot right now for this time of year, so it's really nice to see and it's nice to see so many of our other Canadian team on the podium as well. We've all been doing well and I think our wheel of momentum is rolling and I think it's going to keep rolling into March and I'm excited for more races here."

The Prince Albert, Saskatchewan native and teammate, Canadian Natalie Wilkie, a winner of two golds herself, were neck-and-neck battling for top prize throughout the entire 1,400-metre course. Hudak, a two-time Paralympian, pulled ahead of her teammate in the final metres of the women's standing sprint.

Russia's Iuliia Mikheeva was third and Canadian Emily Young was fourth.

In the men's standing sprint final, Russia swept the podium as Vladislav Lekomtsev, Vitalii Malyshev and Aleksandr Pronkov were one, two and three.

Canada's Mark Arendz finished fifth after the six-time medallist at the 2018 Paralympics wiped out during the first incline of the sprint. 

In the men's sitting sprint final, Canada's Collin Cameron took first place by a mile.

Silver and bronze went to Ivan Golubkov of Russia and Giuseppe Romele of Italy, respectfully.

The 33-year-old Bracebridge, Ont. native, who trains in Canmore, finished first in all the three heats to claim top prize on the day.

"Winning here is pretty special," said Cameron, who won bronze in Sunday's 10 km sitting free technique. "Four years ago [at the Canmore world cup], I didn't even qualify for the sprint heat, so it's nice to come back and I had a little mission to at least get top-12. It's a really good feeling to come here and win, but also to keep things in perspective. It's only December and I just want to build on this and keep my momentum going and just make sure I feel good come March."

In the women's standing sprint final, USA's Oksana Masters continued to dominant the podium and won her third straight gold medal in Canmore.

Russia's Marta Zainullina finished second and USA's Kendall Gretsch took third.

Canada's Christina Picton was fifth.

In the men's visually impaired sprint final, Russia's Oleg Ponomarev was first, Sweden's Zebastian Modin was second and Russia's Vladimir Udaltsov was third.

Canmore's Brian McKeever, with guide Graham Nishikawa, finished fourth. It was the first time during this world cup McKeever did not reach the podium.

In the women's visually impaired sprint final, Russia's Anna Panferova and Margarita Tereshchenkova were first and second. Germany's Vivian Hoesch was third.

With Canada's three podiums on Tuesday, it bumps the Great White North's medal count to 11 (seven gold, two silver, two bronze) at the Canmore world cup.

The seven gold medals has Canada tied with Russia for most top spots after three races.

Russia leads in overall medals in Canmore with 30 (seven gold, 12 silver, 11 bronze).

The Canmore world cup shifts over to biathlon races starting Thursday (Dec. 9) at 10 a.m.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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