The 10 days of action at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games were the highlight of this year.
Held in the Chinese capital, the Paralympic Winter Games took place between 4-13 March and featured 78 medal events across six Para sports.
The Games were full of athletic feats and historic firsts that will be remembered for years to come. Young athletes pulled off exceptional performances, while veterans showed their dominance on the snow and ice.
As the year comes to an end, let’s look back at 10 memorable moments from the Games. What was your favourite moment?
Aigner family takes spotlight
Austria’s Aigner family took centre stage in Para Alpine skiing. Veronika and her guide and older sister Elisabeth, along with their twin siblings Johannes and Barbara won a total of nine medals in their Paralympic debut.
Competing in front of their parents at Yangqing National Para Alpine Skiing Centre, the siblings took Austria to the top of the Para Alpine medals table with four gold.
“It’s just unbelievable because these are the first Paralympics for us all and that it happened in this way. It’s just unbelievable,” Johannes Aigner said.
China tops medals table
Participating as the host country, China picked up 61 medals – 18 gold, 20 silver and 23 bronze – to finish the 10-day Games atop the medals table.
In Para Alpine skiing, Chinese athletes delivered a total of three gold medals, as well as nine silver and seven bronze. China won 12 medals in total in Para biathlon and 10 medals in Para snowboard.
Ukraine finished second in the medals table with 11 gold, 10 silver and eight bronze, followed by Canada with eight gold, six silver and 11 bronze.
McKeever matches record
Canadian legend Brian McKeever pulled off an exceptional show at his last Paralympic Games. Skiing with guides Graham Nishikawa and Russell Kennedy, McKeever, topped the podium three times in Beijing to end his Paralympic career as a 16-time gold medallist.
He is now tied with Germany’s Gerd Schonfelder as the most decorated male Paralympian in terms of gold medals won.
Ukrainians dominate Para Biathlon
Ukrainian biathletes dominated the tracks at the National Biathlon Centre, topping the medals table with eight gold, nine silver and five bronze – their best-ever performance at a Paralympic Winter Games.
Vitaliy Lukyanenko took two gold and a silver in the men’s individual vision impaired category. He now has eight gold, four silver and four bronze to his name from six Paralympics. In the women’s vision impaired class, Oksana Syshkova matched Lukianenko’s performance in Beijing with guide Andriy Marchenko.
Pedersen becomes most successful Paralympian in Beijing
Norway’s Jesper Pedersen was the most successful athlete in Beijing, capturing four golds and one silver in Para Alpine skiing. Taking part in his second Paralympic Games, the sit skier topped the podium in all of his events except for the downhill.
Pedersen, who was Norway’s sole gold medallist at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, said he skied in Beijing in memory of his late father Bjorn, who passed away in November 2020.
A Masters-class by Oksana
Just six months after competing at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Summer Games, Oksana Masters dominated her competitions on the snow in Beijing. The Para Nordic skier won seven medals in seven starts and left the Chinese capital as the most decorated female Para athlete of the Games.
Masters took one gold and three silvers in Para cross country skiing, and two gold and one silver in Para biathlon. At the Tokyo 2020 Games last year, she picked up two gold medals in Para cycling.
USA wins fourth straight gold in Para ice hockey
Team USA earned its fourth consecutive Paralympic gold medal in Para ice hockey. The team, coached by David Hoff, won all of its four games at the National Indoor Stadium by scoring 30 and conceding only one goal throughout the tournament.
The team beat Canada 5-0 in the gold medal match. Veterans Declan Farmer and Brody Roybal led the offense, while goalie Jen Lee recorded 16 saves in the match.
A new Para ice hockey powerhouse
China pulled off a big surprise in the Para ice hockey tournament when the team finished on the podium in its Paralympic debut. Launching its Para ice hockey programme only five years prior to the home Games, the team defeated South Korea 4-0 to claim the bronze medal.
Jing Yu made her Paralympic debut with China on International Women’s Day. She became the third female Para ice hockey player to make a Paralympic appearance after Norway’s Brit Mjaasund Oeyen at Lillehammer 1994 and Lena Schroeder at PyeongChang 2018.
Turner writes snowboard history for Canada
Only four years after starting the sport, Tyler Turner made history for Canada by becoming the first Paralympic snowboard champion from the country. The Paralympic debutant topped the podium in the men’s snowboard cross SB-LL1, before taking bronze in the men’s banked slalom SB-LL1.
“This is incredible. I don’t even know if it's sunk in yet,” Turner said after winning gold. “This is crazy. Four years ago, I didn’t even think I’d snowboard, and now standing on top of the podium, it’s unbelievable.”
In Beijing, Canada returned home with one medal of each colour in the sport. Lisa Dejong won the silver medal in the women’s snowboard cross SB-LL2.
Sweden pulls off best finish in wheelchair curling
Sweden finished runner-up behind defending champions China. Having won bronze at Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010, the silver medal was Sweden's best-ever finish at a Paralympic Winter Games.
“We made a big journey. We achieved a lot of experience over the years. It has been a fantastic ride,” player Viljo Pettersson-Dahl said.