Collin Cameron continues abridged season with gold at World Cup Final

Canadian Paralympic Committee

March 16, 2024

Natalie Wilkie adds bronze in women’s standing sprint

Cameron and Wilkie

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Collin Cameron of Bracebridge, Ont., won the gold medal Saturday in the men’s sitting cross country skiing sprint at the Para nordic World Cup final.

Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm, B.C., added a bronze in the women’ standing sprint. 

After three days of competition the Canadian team has three gold, one silver and two bronze to stand third overall behind Ukraine and Germany.

Sporting a black T-Shirt as temperatures reached the middle teens, Cameron won the six-man final in three minutes and 01.31 seconds. Taras Rad of Ukraine was second in 3:02.21 and Cristian Ribera of Brazil third in 3:02.98.

In the sprint, the competitors race head-on around a 1.2 kilometre loop and advance through a qualifying round and then two six-man semifinals with the top three from each advancing to the final.

‘’I was just trying to keep it all together,’’ said Cameron, 35, about churning down the last stretch to the finish. ‘’I could hear all those pole plants behind me and it was just so hard with the wet snow and the sun. I didn’t want to have a breakdown in my technique.’’

On Wednesday Cameron took fourth in the 10 kilometre biathlon. That race and Saturday’s were his only two events this season. A painful sinus infection which lasted nearly three months kept him on the sidelines most of this winter.

‘’I never thought about gold, my main concern was to start the day off well in qualification,’’ said Cameron, a six-time Paralympic Games medallist, born with arthrogryposis. ‘’I love sprinting, it’s the most fun event. Today it was about coming out and being in synch where my body is at.’’

Derek Zaplotinsky, the five kilometre cross country skiing winner on Thursday, also reached the final placing fifth in 3:10.02.

Ethan Hess of Pemberton, B.C., was 17th and Leo Sammarelli of Vancouver 20th.

In the women’s standing sprint, Vilde Nilsen of Norway took the gold in 3:11.48 with Liudmila Liashenko of Ukraine second in 3:14.70 and Wilkie, a seven-time Paralympic Games medallist,  third in 3:18.19

It was Wilkie’s second medal of the competition. She won silver Thursday in the five kilometre.

‘’It’s a very satisfying bronze medal,’’ said the 23-year-old, who lost four fingers in a workshop accident in high school and skis with one pole. ‘’Usually I’m faster in sprinting but I really felt it out there and just didn’t have it in the legs today.’’ 

Emma Archibald of Fall River, N.S., was also in the final placing sixth.

Lyne-Marie Bilodeau of Sherbrooke, Que., was sixth in the women’s sitting final. Jesse Bachinsky of Kenora, Ont., and his guide Levi Nadlersmith Boissevain, Man., were 12th in the men’s visually impaired sprint.

Competition ends Sunday with the cross country long distance races: 18 kilometres for the sit skiers and 20 kilometres for the standing and visually impaired racers.

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