Celebrating 25 years of Para sport: McKeever, Woolstencroft makes Games debut at 2002 Paralympics

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 27, 2021

Canada would deliver best ever Winter Games to that point

Pfizer 2002

Brian McKeever and Lauren Woolstencroft, two of Canada’s biggest names in Paralympic Winter Games history, made their debuts in 2002 at Salt Lake City.

McKeever is still going strong at age 41 in the Para nordic skiing world and is on track for a sixth Games appearance next winter in Beijing. But it was 19 years ago that he began his record-breaking Paralympic career in Salt Lake City. It was a preview of much more to come, with the legendary skier earning gold medals in both the five-kilometre classical for the visually impaired and 10-kilometre freestyle, as well as silver in the 20-kilometre free.

At that time, his guide was his brother and 1998 Olympian Robin McKeever, now Canada’s longtime Para nordic team head coach. 

Over his first five Games, the Canmore-based McKeever has collected a Canadian Paralympic Winter Games record 17 medals, including 13 gold. 

Meanwhile Calgary native Woolstencroft was laying the groundwork for an eventual epic performance some eight years later in Vancouver in Para alpine skiing. At age 20, Woolstencroft, a double leg and arm amputee, took the gold in the super G and slalom in Salt Lake City. She would go on to win a record five gold medals at Vancouver 2010, the first Canadian to win at least three gold at a single winter Paralympics.

Canada would place sixth in the medal standings at the Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic Winter Games, with six gold, four silver and five bronze. It was the country’s best Winter Games performance at that time.

Para alpine skier Karolina Wisniewska of Ottawa earned the most medals for Canada with two silver and two bronze while sit skier Daniel Wesley of New Westminster, B.C. added one medal of each colour in his final Games appearance.

This year, the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Pfizer Canada are celebrating 25 years of supporting and promoting the Paralympic Movement together. Throughout 2021, we will look back on special sporting moments and milestones from each year of the partnership. 

Click here to read each moment so far.  

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