Canada’s Brian McKeever won gold in the 1.5-kilometre cross-country sprint visually impaired final at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It’s the 12th gold of McKeever’s storied career and his second in Pyeongchang. The 38-year-old from Canmore, Alta., now owns 15 Paralympic medals and became Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian earlier at these Games.
McKeever has a shot at completing a “triple treble” with a gold in the men’s 10 km event; he won gold in all three individual men’s races — sprint, 10 km and 20 km — at both the Vancouver and Sochi Games and is two-thirds of the way there in Pyeongchang.
Earlier, Mark Arendz tied for bronze in a thrilling finish in the men’s 1.5-kilometre cross-country sprint standing final at the 2018 Winter Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
It’s the first-career Paralympic cross-country medal for the 28-year-old from Hartsville, P.E.I., who already owns silver and bronze biathlon medals from these Games. Arendz also claimed biathlon silver and bronze at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi.
Arendz appeared to have a shot at gold in the race before Kazakhstan’s Alexandr Kolyadin surged past the front three to claim gold. From there, the Canadian battled it out with Finland’s Ilkka Tuomisto, with both skiers sharing third place in a photo finish.
Canada’s medal count grew shortly after thanks to 17-year-old Natalie Wilkie. The North Vancouver native earned her first-ever Paralympic medal in the women’s 1.5 km standing sprint, racing to a bronze medal. Fellow Canadians Emily Young and Brittany Hudak finished fourth and sixth, respectively.
Collin Cameron finished just 3-10ths of a second off the podium in the men’s sitting sprint. The 29-year-old from Sudbury, Ont., qualified in a tie for first for the final, but placed fourth following an intense finish to the event.
Chris Klebl and Derek Zaplotinsky both finished sixth in their respective semifinals and didn’t advance. Sebastien Fornier (17), Ethan Hess (27) and Yves Bourque (29) did not move past qualification; in the women’s sitting sprint, Cindy Ouellet failed to advance to the semis, placing 17th.
Jepsen earns giant slalom bronze
Mollie Jepsen’s stellar Games continued with a bronze medal in the women’s giant slalom standing event. The 18-year-old won super combined gold and super-G bronze earlier in Pyeongchang.
Calgary’s Alana Ramsay, who previously won two Paralympic bronzes, finished in fourth; Frederique Turgeon (ninth), Mel Pemble (11th) and Erin Latimer (12th) rounded out the Canadian performances in the event.