|McKeever Keeps the Gold Flowing|
The Canadian National Disabled Cross Country Ski Team added a fourth gold and a bronze to their building heap of hardware on Tuesday after Brian McKeever continued to dominated the men’s visually impaired category and teammate Colette Bourgonje, competing in the women’s sit-ski event, collected her first medal of these World Disabled Ski Championships being held in Baiersbronn, Germany.
Calgary native McKeever has been unbeatable since the Championships began five days ago, winning all four of the events, including today’s 10 km cross-country ski event. In a speedy time of 29:45.4, the twenty-three year old Paralympic two-time gold medallist, was nearly 45 seconds ahead of silver medallist Frank Hofle of Germany. Hofle, who has to settle for second place yet again at these series, came across the line in 30:29.2. The bronze medal went to Valerie Kouptchinski of Russia in 31:22.2. Kouptchinski is a long-time disabled-ski champion who has a total of 10 Paralympic medals from the last three Games.
McKeever is undoubtedly feeling great about his performance these last few days. “My shape seems to have just picked up all of a sudden,” says the demure racer over the phone from Germany. “Two weeks ago I was sure I missed my taper and wouldn’t peak on time. Something happened between now and the races in Quebec, and I’m feeling great!”
On the women’s side, Canadian competitors Colette Bourgonje and Shauna Maria Whyte came in 3rd and 4th respectively in the 5 km sit-ski event. Bourgonje, a veteran racer with 2 silver medals from the Nagano Paralympics, finished today’s race in 19:59.1. Teammate Whyte, who captured a silver medal at the opening biathlon race on Saturday, crossed the line 3 seconds behind Bourgonje in 20:02.2. The winner today was American Candace Cable, who is collecting her second gold of the series. Cable finished in 19:04.3, followed by Ukraine’s Olena Yurkovska in 19:31.4.
In the men’s sit-ski event, Canadian Jean-Thomas Boily took 21st place, finishing the 10 km race in 40:07.1. Boily, a native of Mt. Orford, Quebec, has been plagued with sickness most of last week and is trying to get caught up on missed training. The winner in Boily’s category was Austrian Oliver Anthofer in 32:58.5. The silver medal went to Sergey Shilov of Russia in 33:18.2, and Ukraine’s Yuriy Kostyuk took the bronze in 33:32.5.
The World Disabled Ski Championships continues on Friday with the relay. The Canadian team will not be competing in this event, and will resume with the racing schedule the following Saturday with the long distance cross-country ski race.
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