The best Winter Paralympians can offer could be witnessed at PyeongChang 2018. But there were some who performed below their expectations as well.
Despite achieving what many Para athletes cannot throughout their whole career, some still fail to repeat or outdo their successes at previous competitions. Here are five who will be hoping to improve next season and looking further ahead – the next Games at Beijing 2022.
1. Norway's Para ice hockey team
At PyeongChang 2018 Norway’s Para ice hockey team failed to qualify for the Winter Paralympics semi-finals for the first time. Their 3-2 defeat to Italy condemned them to the third place in Group A. They recovered, beating Japan 6-1 and Czech Republic 5-2 to claim fifth place overall. It was also the second consecutive Winter Paralympics with Norway finishing outside of the podium.
2. Claudia Loesch (AUS) – alpine skiing
Much was expected from the 29-year-old following a highly successful World Cup season, where she dominated the women´s sitting and claimed the overall crystal globe. She was hoping to top the podium in at least one of the speed races, but only took silver in the super-G and bronze in the giant slalom.
3. Anja Wicker (GER) - biathlon
She was far from her level and could not end even close to a podium position. The Sochi 2014 champion finished ninth in both the biathlon individual and long distance sitting, and eighth in the middle distance. Wicker will have an opportunity to bounce back at next year’s Worlds, where she will defend one gold and two silvers from Finsterau 2017.
4. Arthur Bauchet (FRA) – alpine skiing
Had a very good performance considering this was just his first Winter Paralympics. However, he surely left with a bittersweet taste after being so close from taking a gold home. The two-time world champion won four silvers in the men´s slalom, downhill, super-G and super-combined standing. Bauchet will most certainly be back for Beijing 2022 eyeing the top of the podium again.
5. Carina Edlinger (AUS) – cross-country skiing
After a breakthrough season, winning two golds at the Finsterau 2017 Worlds, and securing two consecutive World Cup crystal globes in the women´s vision impaired, she was a leading contender for gold ahead of PyeongChang 2018. However, she could only take one bronze in the middle distance. This experience will surely help her on her road to Beijing 2022.
The official website of PyeongChang 2018, featuring reviews, highlights and exclusive content, can be found here.