PyeongChang 2018: Brian McKeever goes for historic eleventh gold

Remaining long-distance races to be contested in cross-country 12 Mar 2018
a male Para athlete carrying the Canadian flag

Cross-country favourite Brian McKeever carried the flag for Canada at the PyeongChang 2018 Opening Ceremony

ⒸGetty Images
By Louise Wood | For the IPC

The action moves to the standing and vision impaired cross country long distance races on Monday after the sit-skiers competed on Sunday.

If conditions are similar with warmer weather making the snow soft and skiing difficult it will be another stiff test for the athletes.

One man who never lets the conditions get in his way is Canadian Para Nordic legend Brian McKeever. The 37-year-old reigning world and Paralympic champion will start in his fifth Paralympic Games and is hoping to add to his impressive medal haul in the 20km vision impaired race. He already has thirteen Paralympic medals, ten of which are gold.

He was also Canada’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony but he has not let that distract him from the racing.

“The Opening Ceremony is part of the experience, but we're also here to do a job and our job is to race and to do our best.”

The fight will come behind him to see who can claim silver and bronze. Taking part in his third Paralympics at just 23-years-old is Sweden’s Zebastian Modin. "My form has been good recently and the goal is to take a medal, definitely," he said.

He is the World Cup leader in cross-country but will have to fight off challenges from the likes of France’s Thomas Clarion, Norway’s Eirik Bye and Ukraine’s Iaroslav Reshetynskyi to claim a medal.

The women’s race should prove to be a closer affair with Austrian Carina Edlinger going for her first Paralympic title in the 15km race. The current World Champion and World Cup winner will be pushed hard by Oksana Shyshkova of Ukraine, biathlon sprint gold medallist Mikhalina Lysova and Germany’s Clara Klug.

The standing races will be a repeat of the biathlon rivalry from Saturday between Frenchman Benjamin Daviet and current world champion Ihor Reptuykh of Ukraine. Both are hungry for more medals here in South Korea and it will be hard for any of the others to beat them. However that will not stop athletes like Finland’s Illka Tuomisto, in his final Paralympic Games, and Ukrainian Gyrgorii Vovchynskyi from trying.

The women’s race will be another showdown between Neutral Paralympic athletes Ekaterina Rumyantseva and Anna Milenina. Rumyantseva currently has the upper hand after her biathlon sprint victory but Milenina does not want to settle for silver a second time.

“The saddest places are second and fourth. Of course, at the Paralympics you can't weep over getting a podium, but it is sad that it's not first place. I need to keep gaining speed and then in the final races I will get better results.”

Also hoping to medal again will be Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko. She will face a challenge however from her own teammates Yuliia Batenkova Bauman and Irina Bui.

Every competition as well as the Opening and Closing Ceremonies can be watched live right here on the International Paralympic Committee’s website. Highlights of each day’s action will also be made available.