Celebrating 25 years of Para sport: Para alpine and Para nordic skiers serve notice in 2017

Canadian Paralympic Committee

December 15, 2021

World championships results primed Canada a year ahead of the Paralympics


With only a year to go before the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, Mac Marcoux entered the 2016-17 Para alpine skiing season with a new guide hoping the pair could find the right chemistry by season’s end to be medal contenders in PyeongChang.

Marcoux had burst on the international stage at the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi as a 16-year-old with two gold and a bronze with his then-guide Robin Fémy. 

In 2017, Jack Leitch had just retired from the Alberta Provincial Team. He was noted for his ability to finish races on a consistent basis, a must for a guide to give his racer a chance to win a medal. In addition, Leitch was a great fit for Marcoux’s skiing style and communicated well with his teammate on and off the slopes.

It was immediately apparent that this was a match made in heaven, particularly in the downhill in which they blazed at speeds around 100 kph to win the Crystal Globe as season’s champions on the World Cup circuit.

But the biggest test they needed to ace was the world championships that season in Tarvisio, Italy. 

Marcoux and Leitch highlighted a brilliant performance at those worlds for Canada with four gold medals and one silver. The victories were in the downhill, Super G, slalom and giant slalom and the silver in the super combined.

It was also a breakthrough for Alana Ramsay who would race to the podium four times and an 18-year-old Alexis Guimond who notched a bronze.

While there was success on the slopes, the Canadian Para nordic team was also sharpening its skills that season at its world championships in Finsterau, Germany. 

Those worlds featured a five-medal performance for Mark Arendz and two gold for Brian McKeever while Brittany Hudak and Collin Cameron were on the cusp of success with two top-five finishes apiece. 

With plentiful podium performances, both Canada’s Para alpine and Para nordic teams definitely served notice in 2017 that they were ready for the Paralympic Winter Games the next season. 

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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