LILLEHAMMER, Norway – Alex Massie of Barrie, Ont. and Lisa DeJong of Saskatoon headlined a six-medal day for Canada on Friday with silver medals in their respective snowboard banked slalom events at the inaugural World Para Snow Sports Championships.
Sandrine Hamel of St-Sauveur, Que. and Tyler Turner of Calgary each added a bronze in their banked slaloms while Para alpine skiers Mollie Jepsen of Vancouver and Katie Combaluzier of Toronto were third in their downhill races.
DeJong, a 32-year-old mother of two young daughters, made a sparkling world championships debut advancing to the women’s lower limb 2 (LL2) gold medal final after decisive victories over Romy Tschopp of Switzerland and Katlyn Maddry of the U.S. in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
Double Paralympic Games medallist Lisa Bunschoten of the Netherlands was the only rider to put the brakes on DeJong, a left leg below the knee amputee, with a victory in the final to successfully defend her title.
Hamel, a double medallist at the season opening World Cup in November, won her third-place match over Maddry for the bronze in the women’s LL2 after falling to the Dutch victor in the semis.
In the men’s banked slalom in the LL2 category, Massie defeated Keiji Okamoto of Japan in the quarterfinals and Ben Tudhope of Australia in the semis. Zach Miller of the U.S. took the gold medal final over Massie. It was a second career worlds medal for Massie.
In the LL1 class, Turner defeated Daichi Oguri of Japan in his third-place match. In the quarterfinals, Turner beat Thomas Wilson of the U.S., then lost his semi to another American Mike Schultz. Schultz lost to his compatriot Noah Elliott in the final.
Two bronze medals for Canada in Para alpine downhill event
It was also a solid start for Canada in Para alpine skiing at the worlds, as Jepsen and national team rookie Combaluzier reached the podium.
In the women’s standing downhill, delayed a day due to inclement weather, eight-time Paralympic Games champion Maria Bochet of France was first in one minute and 16.95 seconds. Varvara Voronchikhina of the Russian Paralympic Committee was second in 1:17.38 and Jepsen followed in 1:18.67.
Jepsen, a quadruple medallist at the 2018 Paralympic Games, has stepped on the podium in each of her seven international races this season.
Michaela Gosselin of Collingwood, Ont. was sixth.
Combaluzier was third in the women’s sitting downhill behind Anna-Lena Forster of Germany in first and Barbara Van Bergen of the Netherlands.
Alexis Guimond of Gatineau, Que. was fourth in the men’s standing downhill.
The men’s and women’s Super G races are on Saturday while snowboard resumes next Friday with the snowboard cross races.
The competition also features Para nordic skiing (cross country and biathlon) but the Canadian Para nordic team has decided to skip the event and pursue their training at home.
For more information, please visit the event’s official website at Paralympic.org/lillehammer-2021.
Live streaming of the competition is available via the International Paralympic Committee’s YouTube channel.