"As we close in on Sochi's Paralympic Games, it is exciting see the announcement of a para-Nordic team comprised of new talent and veteran performers."
Canada will send a high-powered group of cross-country skiers and biathletes to the Sochi start line with a focus on contributing to the nation's medal count at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, Cross Country Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee announced on Tuesday (11 February).
A total of 14 of the nation's best para-Nordic skiers and biathletes, eight men and six women, will don the maple leaf race suit next month (7-16 March) in Sochi. The 11 athletes and three guides include a group of Paralympic, World Championship and World Cup medal winners led by 10-time Paralympic medallist Brian McKeever along with his guides Erik Carleton and Graham Nishikawa, and eight-time Paralympic medallist Colette Bourgonje.
They will be joined by fellow Paralympians who are World Cup and World Championship medallists, Mark Arendz; Chris Klebl; along with Brittany Hudak; Caroline Bisson; Yves Bourque; Sébastien Fortier; Louis Fortin; Margarita Gorbounova; Robbi Weldon; and guide Andrea Bundon.
"These athletes represent one of the most talented groups of para-Nordic athletes that we have ever sent to a Games," said Mike Edwards, team leader and assistant high-performance director, Cross Country Canada. "This team has achieved great success in the competitive culture of excellence we have created at Cross Country Canada, having won medals at national championships, World Cups, World Championships and the Paralympics. Depth is key to any podium attack and Canada is well positioned to continue this success well into the future."
The athletes are coached by Robin McKeever and Kaspar Wirz.
"As we close in on Sochi's Paralympic Games, it is exciting see the announcement of a para-Nordic team comprised of new talent and veteran performers," said Team Canada's Chef de Mission, Ozzie Sawicki. "Our para-Nordic athletes will be up for the challenge as they compete against a strong field of nations in Sochi and I have extreme confidence in their ability to bring home podium results in support of Canada's goal to be a top three gold medal nation at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games."
"As Minister of State (Sport), I wish all the best to our Canadian Paralympic Team athletes as they prepare for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi," said the Hon. Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport). "I would also like to thank the coaches, family and officials who support and encourage these athletes who will proudly represent our country."
Nominated para-Nordic skiers and biathletes
Mark Arendz, cross-country and biathlon
Caroline Bisson, cross-country and biathlon
Colette Bourgonje, cross-country
Yves Bourque, cross-country
Louis Fortin, cross country
Sebastien Fortier, cross coutry
Margarita Gorbounova, guide Andrea Bundon, cross-country and biathlon
Brittany Hudak, cross-country
Chris Klebl, cross-country
Brian McKeever, guide Erik Carleton, cross-country and biathlon
Robbi Weldon, guide Graham Nishikawa, cross-country
The Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games will take place from 7-16 March. With a goal of placing in the top three nations in the gold medal count, Canada will send approximately 50 athletes to compete in sledge hockey, wheelchair curling, Nordic skiing, biathlon, alpine skiing and snowboard.
Nomination to the Canadian Paralympic Team is ongoing. The full team will be officially unveiled in late February.
With 100 days to go to the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, the Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) unveiled an unprecedented, fully accessible broadcast and electronic media plans for the most comprehensive coverage ever offered in Canada for a Paralympic Games - more than 65 hours of broadcast, up to 350 hours of digital streaming, and rights free news access highlights connecting Canadians via multi platforms. CPC will lead the Paralympic Broadcast Consortium partners in creating coverage on five broadcast/digital platforms: CBC/Radio-Canada, Sportsnet, Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), Yahoo Sports Canada and SendtoNews.