“I wish everyone good times and to make gold shots on the target, and I am looking forward to seeing them all in my homeland in March.”
Nearly 100 athletes from 12 different countries are in Canmore, Canada, this week for the first stop on 2013-14 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup, which will serve as a segway into the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games.
The Russian delegation alone will send 42 athletes to Canmore, including the two biggest individual winners from last season’s World Championships, Roman Petushkov and Mikhalina Lysova.
Petushkov, a two-time Paralympic medallist in sit-skiing, won four golds, a silver and a bronze at the 2013 IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships. He is expect to assert his dominance this season on the Nordic circuit, hoping to have his efforts culminate in his first Paralympic gold on home snow.
“My heartiest wishes to all with the beginning of a new Paralympic season,” Petushkov said. “I wish everyone good times and to make gold shots on the target, and I am looking forward to seeing them all in my homeland in March.”
One of the sport’s quickest improving stars, Japan’s Kozo Kubo, could prove to be Petushkov’s biggest challenger at the finish line this season.
Lysova, who is visually impaired, has proven just as dominant as Petushkov with five Paralympic medals to her name, as well as five golds and a bronze from last season’s World Championships.
Her biggest challenger in Canmore will be her own teammate, Elena Remizova, who won the 2012-13 World Cup title in the cross-country skiing discipline, having previously won both the cross-country and biathlon World Cup titles in the 2011-12 season.
American Tatyana McFadden is transitioning to the snow after a dominant season in wheelchair racing, which included six titles at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships and a marathon Grand Slam.
“It’s a really good change of pace. It’s going to be freezing, but it’s a nice change of pace,” said McFadden, who is trying to qualify for her first Winter Games.
“I think that the track aspect is really going to help me in my skiing, because I’ve previously built up that strength and endurance.”
The men’s visually impaired events are expected to draw attention in Canmore, as Canada’s Brian McKeever goes head-to-head with Russia’s Nikolay Polukhin in the sprint distance.
Mark Arendz will also be a name for the host nation to watch in the men’s standing biathlon discipline.
The cross-country skiing portion in Canmore will run from Monday through Thursday (9-12 December) and will be followed by the biathlon portion from 14-17 December.
For instant updates from the 2013-14 IPC Nordic Skiing World Cup please follow IPC Nordic Skiing on Twitter and on Facebook.
Daily highlights video packages from the event will also be uploaded to the IPC's YouTube channel.