BEIJING – The Canadian Paralympic Team took three trips to the podium on Day 2 of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, with Alana Ramsay and Alexis Guimond capturing bronze medals in Para alpine skiing and Collin Cameron adding another third place in Para cross country. Canada now has six medals at the conclusion of action on a Sunday that also saw the nation’s Para snowboarders qualify for their respective snowboard cross finals and wheelchair curlers bring their preliminary record to 3-0.
MEDALS WON ON MARCH 6
BRONZE – Alana Ramsay, Para Alpine Skiing, Women’s Standing Super-G
BRONZE – Collin Cameron, Para Nordic Skiing (Cross Country), Men’s Sitting Long Distance
BRONZE – Alexis Guimond, Para Alpine Skiing, Men’s Standing Super-G
OVERALL MEDAL TOTAL
Para Alpine Skiing
Alana Ramsay successfully defended her Super-G bronze medal earned four years ago, finishing third in the women’s standing event for the second consecutive Games. Racing early in the field, she briefly took the lead and her time of 1:16.84 held up for a podium place. Competing at her third Games, she now has three Paralympic medals, each a bronze.
“When I came across the finish line and I saw the minus sign in front and the No. 1 position, I was in absolute disbelief,” said Ramsay, who has been dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder since a massive crash on the hill a few years ago. “I couldn’t believe it and I still can’t believe it. It’s still sinking in a little bit that I actually got on the podium again. I didn’t think this was going to be possible. I was aiming for it, but in the back of my mind I knew it might not be in the speed [events].”
Mollie Jepsen, gold medallist in the downhill a day prior, finished sixth just in front of teammate Michaela Gosselin in seventh in the same race.
Alexis Guimond won bronze in the men’s standing Super-G with a time of 1:10.02, improving upon his fourth-place in this event in PyeongChang. The 11th racer down the hill, he had to wait for the remaining 28 competitors to take their turn, but nobody could beat his time. Four years ago, Guimond was the first Canadian male skier of his category to podium in 20 years when he won bronze in the giant slalom, and now he has done it in consecutive Games.
“It felt pretty incredible, it’s been a long four years, a lot of hard work,” said Guimond. “It’s been a rollercoaster, it’s not always been easy for me this four years and especially the pandemic made things a lot harder. But I’m really happy about my performance and I’m really happy about what I did today. Going into the Games I was telling myself I just want to perform well and do the best I can and today I did that.”
Other results on the day saw Brian Rowland posting a 10th-place result in the men’s sitting Super-G. Katie Combaluzier did not finish in the women’s sitting race, nor did Mac Marcoux and guide Tristan Rodgers in the men’s vision impaired, a day after the duo took silver in the downhill. Logan Leach and his guide Julien Petit finished seventh.
Para Nordic Skiing
Collin Cameron had a superb day, skiing to cross country bronze in the men’s sitting long distance race. He finished the 18 kilometre event in 47:36.6 to claim his first medal in Beijing and fourth career Paralympic podium.
“I don’t think I could have raced it any better today,” said Cameron. “I raced my line, I stayed in my zones, I did exactly what I needed to do where I needed to do it. You talk about those perfect races, and so far thinking about today, that was probably the one perfect race I’ve ever had in my career.”
It’s his first individual Paralympic medal in cross country, and he becomes just the second Canadian male sit skier ever to win a cross country medal at the Games. He was fifth in the same event four years ago.
“It’s a good confidence boost to come in and get a surprise medal for me in the 18km because I wasn’t expecting this,” he said. “I think other people had some hopes coming into this for me thinking I might have a really good race today, but I certainly didn’t have that confidence this morning thinking I could go in and finish even in the top five looking at the field. So it feels pretty cool to come in here and race and get third.”
In the same race, Cameron’s teammates Derek Zaplotinsky and Ethan Hess finished 13th and 18th respectively.
Lyne-Marie Bilodeau made her Paralympic debut, with the 20-year-old finishing ninth in the women’s sitting long distance cross country event.
Canada’s four-member Para snowboard team saw action for the first time at the Games, with the snowboard cross qualifying.
Tyler Turner, in his Paralympic debut, was the quickest racer in both runs in the men’s SB-LL1 category, qualifying first for the finals with a best time of 1:04.24. He won this event at the world championships in January.
“I’m so excited, to come out first place in qualifiers is awesome,” said Turner. “It’s a nice little advantage for tomorrow, but it’s still the same tomorrow – you’ve got to race fast, and these guys are good. It’s going to be some crazy races tomorrow, some tight races, so just keep doing what I did. The first run was a little squirely, I cleaned it up a little on the second run, and hopefully tomorrow just keep cleaning it up every time and keep getting faster.”
In the women’s SB-LL2, first-time Paralympian Lisa DeJong qualified with the fourth-best time while 2018 returnee Sandrine Hamel was eighth. Alex Massie was third fastest in the men’s SB-LL2 as he made his second Paralympic appearance.
“I’m super happy, I was able to keep it consistent and get through the course clean,” said DeJong. “I learnt a few new things today, cleaned up my jumps a little bit, so overall I’m really happy with how today went. I was able to keep it low key, I didn’t let the pressure get to me too much, and pretended it was just a training day.”
All four athletes qualify for the finals on Monday, which will see them go head-to-head against their competitors in elimination rounds. Canada is looking for its first medal in Para snowboard, which joined the Paralympic program in 2014.
Canada is now atop the leaderboard with an undefeated record through early preliminary play in wheelchair curling, with a 3-0 mark after defeating Latvia 10-3 on Sunday. The game got off to a strange start when a match assistant moved a rock before it was confirmed as a second point for Canada in the first end. The Mark Ideson-led Canucks were given the choice of scoring one or playing from the beginning and took the latter. On the re-start, they scored four in the first end and kept the pressure on all the way to victory.
“I’ve never seen that before. It was a challenge to wipe the slate clean and start fresh, and regroup. But I feel like we were able to do that, and stay patient,” said Ideson. “It was a challenging decision. We thought the end went well, and we had picked up on the ice, so we thought that it’d be to our advantage to start the end again.”
“It feels awesome, you couldn’t ask for a better start than 3-0,” said Dennis Thiessen. “Hopefully we can keep our wheels turning and keep it going.”
CLICK HERE for the complete Canadian Paralympic Team results on March 6.