PyeongChang 2018: Brian McKeever wins eleventh Paralympic title12.03.2018
Canadian becomes best male cross-country skier in Winter Games history
History was made on Monday (12 March) when Canadian veteran Brian McKeever won his eleventh Paralympic gold medal. He led the vision impaired race from start to finish eventually winning by over a minute led by guides Graham Nishikawa and Russell Kennedy. In his fifth and final Games the 38-year-old revealed what keeps him motivated.
"It's confirmation that we're still competitive even at ripe old age now. It's not just about chasing another victory, but it's actually seeing if we can work on weaknesses and improve."
The win for McKeever sees him become the most successful male cross-country skier in Paralympic Games history with 11 golds, one more than Germany’s Frank Hoefle and Terje Loevaas of Norway.
Yury Holub from Belarus sprang a surprise finishing second to make it two silver medals in a row for him and guide Dzmitry Budzilovich after their performance in the biathlon sprint.
The bronze medal went to Thomas Clarion of France with his guide Antoine Bollet.
The day got even better for Belarus when Sviatlana Sakhanenka won the first gold medal of these Games for her country despite breaking a pole during the race. Alongside guide Raman Yashchanka she fought off a strong challenge from Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova to become Paralympic champion in the 15km women’s vision impaired race.
“I can't describe it. It was great. I trained really hard and I think I deserved this gold. I wouldn't say it was easy, the gold is never easy to get - but it was also not very hard. I was prepared and I felt that I gave it all that I could."
Shyshkova and guide Vitaliy Kazakov won their second silver of the Games and the bronze medal went to Neutral Paralympic athlete Mikhalina Lysova guided by Alexey Ivanov.
In the men’s 20km standing race Ukraine’s Ihor Reptyukh blew the field away with a stunning performance to win his first Paralympic title. He won by a margin of over two minutes to add to the silver he won in biathlon.
"There are so many feelings of joy simply for being able to complete your work successfully. I did what I was preparing to do. For an athlete, this is the greatest joy that he can get."
Third place went to an emotional Hakon Olsrud. The Norwegian won his first ever medal at any major championships taking the bronze and could not hold back the tears at the end of the race requiring a warm embrace from his coach Lars Berger and teammate Eirik Bye.
"My physical therapist told me I'd won a medal and I started to cry. I'm not sure of how good that is. It spoils my whole macho image!”
The women’s 15km standing was dominated by Neutral Paralympic Athlete Ekaterina Rumyantseva. Fresh from victory on Saturday in the biathlon sprint she won this one by over a minute.
Anna Milenina, another Neutral Paralympic athlete, was second and Ukraine’s Liudmyla Liashenko was third in a repeat of the biathlon sprint podium.
For Nordic skiing athletes Tuesday (13 March) sees the return of the biathlon competition, with men’s and women’s middle distances races across all classes.
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.
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