Canada’s Para nordic skiers add silver and bronze to World Cup medal haul

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 23, 2021

McKeever and Hudak make the podium once again in Finland

Hudak 2021

With files from Nordiq Canada 

VUOKATTI, Fin.– Brian McKeever will leave Finland with a perfect medal set after winning a silver on Tuesday while Brittany Hudak notched a second bronze in cross country skiing action at the Para nordic World Cup.

McKeever and guide Russell Kennedy clocked 18:17.5 in the men’s visually impaired 7.5-kilometre classic-ski race. McKeever’s top rival, Zebastian Modin of Sweden, won convincingly in 17:12.6. Yury Holub, of Belarus, was third at 18:37.3.

“There was no way we were going to catch Modin today,” said McKeever, 41, Canada’s most successful winter Paralympian with 17 medals. He and Kennedy also won gold Friday in the 12.5 kilometre and bronze Monday in the 20-kilometre race. 

“We were thinking of double-poling and in hindsight maybe we should have but given the conditions and not being a hard course with no technicality it is very difficult for us to make up the percentages and wouldn’t have made up that much more time.”

In the women’s five-kilometre classic-ski standing race, Hudak, from Prince Albert, Sask., made up a lot of time on the field to grab her second bronze of the week.

Feeding off the best cross-country ski race of her life in the middle-distance classic race on Friday, she clocked 14:24.7. Vilde Nilsen of Norway set the time to beat at 13:52.9, while Ekaternia Rumyantseva of Russia finished in second place at 14:12.8.

“I knew going into the race that I needed to start hard and maintain a fast pace with it being only five kilometres,” said Hudak, a bronze medallist at the 2018 Paralympic Games. “I felt really good throughout the race and was happy my body had some pep for a fight for a podium.”

Three Canadians also suited up in the women’s and men’s five-kilometre sit-ski races.

Competing in just her second year on the Para nordic World Cup circuit, Christina Picton (Fonthill, Ont.) skied to seventh. Lyne-Marie Bilodeau (Sherbrooke, Que.) was ninth and Derek Zaplotinsky (Smokey Lake, Alta) was eighth in the men’s race at 15:34.3.

After a day off on Wednesday, the Para Nordic World Cup will resume on Thursday in Finland with the first of two days of biathlon competitions.

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