Canada’s Para nordic team on target for another great Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 03, 2022

Veteran-filled squad looking for more hardware on the trails


Canada’s Para nordic team (cross country skiing and biathlon) was the country’s top medal producer at the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games with 16 trips to the podium. With all those medallists back in Beijing and recent World Cup success, it appears the Canadians are on target for many medals again.  

The 12-member Canadian Para nordic team features the legendary Brian McKeever of Canmore, Alta. The 42-year-old visually impaired cross-country skier, recently featured in a worldwide Toyota commercial that debuted Super Bowl Sunday, is headed to his sixth Games. He is Canada’s most decorated winter Paralympian with 17 medals including 13 gold.

He is scheduled to race in three individual events and possibly the relay. He carries two guides to the Games: national team members Graham Nishikawa of Whitehorse and Russell Kennedy of Canmore.

McKeever faces tough competition from Zebastian Modin of Sweden, who is in the hunt for a fourth medal from a fourth straight Paralympics – but a gold has so far eluded him.

While McKeever has been the long-time star of the Canadian team, don’t be surprised to see multi medallists for Canada in some women’s standings events for both the cross country and biathlon races.

Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Sask. is headed to her third Games and she appears to be in the best shape of her career. At the season opening World Cup, Hudak delivered her best ever international performance with four gold and two silver, which included two victories in cross country and biathlon.

Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C., a triple medallist in PyeongChang at age 17, and Emily Young of North Vancouver provide Canada depth in the women’s standing races.

Ukraine is expected to field a powerful women’s team led by world champions Liudmyla Liashenko and Oleksandra Kononova while Norway’s Vilden Nilsen was another big star at the recent worlds with two gold medals. Also watch for American Sydney Peterson, a threat in every race.

In 2018, Mark Arendz of Hartsville, PEI and headed to a fourth Paralympics, established a record for winning the most medals by a Winter Paralympian in one Games with a gold, two silvers and three bronze.

In sit skiing, Canada’s top medal hope is Collin Cameron of Sudbury, Ont. Like Arendz, he excels both on the trails and the shooting range. He won two bronze in biathlon and one in cross country in 2018 and collected his first world title in 2019 in the cross country sprint. He is joined in the men’s sitting events by teammates Derek Zaplotinsky (Smoky Lake, AB) and Ethan Hess (Pemberton, BC), both at their second Paralympic Games.

The two newcomers on the team are Lyne-Marie Bilodeau of Sherbrooke, Que. and Christina Picton from Fonthill, Ont., racing in the women’s sit ski category.

Para nordic skiing competition opens with the 6km biathlon races on March 5.

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