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Bow Valley Paralympians: recap of Beijing Games

Bow Valley Paralympians are proving to once again be an international force at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympics Games.

BEIJING ­– History made, best results and debuts highlighted the Bow Valley's exceptional Para Nordic Ski team at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games from March 5-13.

Team Canada finished third overall in medals with 25 (eight gold, six silver, 11 bronze) with the Bow Valley Para athletes hauling 14 (six gold, two silver, six bronze).

China led the way with 61 (18 gold, 20 silver, 23 bronze) in Beijing. Ukraine finished second overall with 29 (11 gold, 10 silver, eight bronze).

Canmore's Brian McKeever made history in Beijing after winning his 16th Paralympics gold medal overall, tying for most gold medals ever won by a winter Paralympian with Para alpine skier, Gerd Schönfelder.

Canada's Mark Arendz and Natalie Wilkie tied for most medals won by Canadians in Beijing with four each. Wilkie was also the youngest Canadian to medal in Beijing at age 21.


Canada’s medal-hunter Arendz picked up where he left off four years ago with a bronze on day one in Beijing.

The 32-year-old from Prince Edward Island shot eight-for-10 and crossed the line at 17:13.6 in the standing men’s biathlon sprint on March 5 at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre in China, where all the Para Nordic Ski events took place.

In the women’s sitting races, Canada’s Christina Picton finished seventh at a time of 23:50.7.

Picton shot clean (10-for-10) in her Paralympics debut.

In the men’s sitting sprint, Canada’s Collin Cameron finished seventh, shooting seven-for-10 and crossing the line at a time of 20:24.7.

Canada’s Derek Zaplotinsky was 14th, shooting eight-for-10 and finishing at a time of 21:15.6.

In the women's standing, Canada's Emily Young finished seventh, shooting clean and crossing the line at a time of 20:31.0.


Cameron, rocking sleeveless attire, won bronze in the men's 18-kilometre sitting Para cross-country ski race on March 6.

The powerful skier consistently held a podium spot for nearly the entire duration of the race, finishing at a time of 47:36.6.

Zaplotinsky was 13th and Ethan Hess was 18th.


McKeever and Wilkie made it look easy, and Hudak brought home bronze on a huge day for Canada in Beijing in the long distance Para cross-country event on March 7.

The 42-year-old McKeever and guide Russell Kennedy cruised to victory in the men’s 20-kilometre vision-impaired Para cross-country classic.

McKeever and Kennedy opened up a big lead over the field, finishing at a time of 55:36.7 – more than three minutes ahead of silver medallist Jake Adicoff of the United States.

In the women’s 15km standing, Wilkie was golden, Hudak took bronze and Young was fifth to cap off remarkable results for the Canadian women.

Sydney Peterson of the United States snagged silver.

Peterson was the early leader, but faded around the 5km mark in the classic. Wilkie chased down the American and took over the lead at the 5.9km mark and never looked back. She finished at a time of 48:04.8.

In men’s standing, Arendz finished fourth (54:43.9). The 32-year-old just missed the podium in a tight finish between racers two-to-four.


Arendz found the podium the next day taking gold after shooting perfectly.

The 10-kilometre middle distance biathlon races got underway on March 8, and in the men’s standing, it came down to one shot and Arendz went 20-for-20 on the range to win another gold for Canada at a time of 31:45.2.

Arendz and Ukraine’s Grygorii Vovchynskyi were head-to-head in the race and it became clear that if the Canadian was going to win, it would be on the final range against the first-place Ukrainian.

Both had shot clean heading into the fourth range, but it was Vovchynskyi missing at the worst possible moment, off the mark on only one target on the day.

Arendz, on the other hand, knocked them all down and was off uncontested to his first gold.

In the women’s standing, Hudak took sixth place and shot 18-for-20 at a time of 43.37.1.

Young (18/20) finished eighth.

In the women’s sitting, Picton finished eighth and shot 17-for-20 at a time of 39:15.9.

In the men’s sitting, Zaplotinsky (17/20) finished eighth at a time of 32:56.4.


McKeever and Wilkie are lucky they didn’t get speeding tickets on Day 5 in Beijing.

The Para cross-country sprint races got underway on March 9 with McKeever and Wilkie winning gold for Canada, and Cameron bringing home bronze.

In women’s standing sprint, Wilkie went head-to-head in the final 100 metres with world champion Vilde Nilsen. However, it was the Canuck turning on the nitro and pulling ahead of the Norweigan in the final metres to claim her second gold medal of these Games.

Wilkie crossed the line at 4:05.1, and Nilsen finished at 4:08.1.

McKeever and Kennedy punched the attack the men’s sprint vision impaired to take top spot.

The Canadians turned on the jets in the final stretch to hold off USA’s Adicoff and guide Sam Wood to capture first place at a time of 3:19.5.

In men’s sitting sprint, Cameron had a 16-second gap to make up, but just came up shy to win bronze at a time of 2:46.3.

In women’s sitting, Canada’s Christina Picton finished sixth in the sprint final.

The Canuck crossed the line at 3:38.6.


After a day off, the final Para biathlon event got underway on March 10.

Hudak and Arendz both medalled in the women's and men's standing individual event.

Hudak picked up her second bronze medal of the Games, shooting 18-for-20 and finishing at a time of 49:03.4.

Young was sixth (19/20).

Arendz took home silver (19/20) in the race, crossing the line at a time of 40:13.0.

In men's sitting, Cameron finished just off the podium in fourth, and Zaplotinsky was tenth.

In women's sitting, Picton finished seventh and shot clean.


History has been made by McKeever after the Canuck completed the golden hat trick.

In his final individual race at the Paralympics Games, McKeever, with seeing guide Graham Nishikawa, tied the mark for most gold medals ever won by a winter Paralympian with 16, equalling Para alpine skier, Gerd Schönfelder.

The legendary 42-year-old skier easily won the men’s vision impaired middle distance cross-country freestyle on March 12, crossing the line at a time of 33:06.6.

In women’s standing, Wilkie tumbled on the last downhill portion of the final lap, but managed to quickly get back up to her feet and swiftly won silver at a time of 41:45.3 – more two seconds faster than bronze medallist Iryna Bui of Ukraine.

Hudak finished seventh, and Young finished 11th.

In men’s standing, Arendz finished seventh at a time of 36:23.5.

In the men’s sitting, Cameron was barely knocked off a podium by 5.3 seconds and finished fourth place.

Cameron has won two bronze medals in cross-country events in Beijing.

Zaplotinsky was 15th, and Hess finished 19th.

In the women’s sitting, Picton finished eighth place.


Canada’s mixed relay team won bronze on March 13 on the final day of competition at the Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.

Consisting of Cameron, Young, Arendz and Wilkie, the Canucks crossed the 4X2.5km relay at a time of 27.00.6.

Sit-skier Cameron started the first leg for Canada. The 33-year-old was in second place, around five seconds behind Ukraine’s Taras Rad at the first exchange.

Canada’s next three racers in the relay were all standing skiers, starting with 31-year-old Young.

Young was part of a four-pack of countries in Canada, Ukraine, China and the USA that broke away from the field during the second leg. China and Ukraine, however, opened up a near 35 second lead over Canada, sitting in third, at the second exchange.

Next up was Arendz with a large gap to close if Canada wanted to compete for a medal.

The 12-time Paralympic medallist turned on the jets and cut the lead down to less than three seconds at the final exchange where Canada, China and Ukraine were head-to-head.

But it was the USA’s vision-impaired skier Adicoff, coming from out of nowhere, and exploding out of the final exchange to move from fourth to first place, erasing a 30 second deficient and adding a 26 second lead over China to win gold.

However, it was Wilkie pushing ahead of the Ukrainian in the short 2.5km leg to claim bronze for Canada.

For Young, it was her first medal of these Games.

In the open 4X2.5km relay, Hudak and McKeever with guide Kennedy finished sixth place.

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