OTTAWA – It was a great year for Canadian Para athletes in 2022 but nothing will top their amazing performances at the Paralympic Winter Games this past March in Beijing.
This was a unique Games.
It seemed for the first time the world was on a path to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The Beijing Games was successfully delivered, and seemed to open the door for more return of sport.
Just that fact was good news. But for Canadian fans there was more. The team was absolutely superb in Beijing, compiling 25 medals (eight gold – six silver – 11 bronze) for third in the country rankings behind China with 61 and Ukraine with 29.
Here is a day-by-day recap of Canadian Paralympic Team highlights:
March 5: Canada earned gold, silver, and bronze on Day 1. It was downhill day in Para alpine skiing and Mollie Jepsen took gold in the women’s standing race for Canada’s first medal while Mac Marcoux and guide Tristan Rodgers won silver. Mark Arendz earned bronze in the men’s standing biathlon sprint.
March 6: It was triple bronze for Canada on Day 2. On the slopes, Alana Ramsay and Alexis Guimond were third in their respective Super G races and Collin Cameron did the same in the sitting cross country 18 kilometre event.
March 7: Canada’s best day with six medals was highlighted by the Para snowboard team in the snowboard cross events. Lisa DeJong won Canada’s first ever Paralympic medal in the sport with silver and moments later Tyler Turner rode to gold in his race. Also with victories were Para nordic skiers Brian McKeever with guide Russell Kennedy and Natalie Wilkie in their 20 kilometre and 15 kilometre cross country races. Brittany Hudak was right behind Wilkie with the bronze. Alana Ramsay joined the party with bronze in the women’s super combined.
March 8: Mark Arendz was a perfect 20-for-20 on the shooting range and secured gold in the 10 kilometre Para biathlon race on day four to keep Canada’s medal streak alive.
March 9: The Para nordic skiers won all three Canadian medals on Day 5. In the cross country sprints, Brian McKeever and guide Russell Kennedy, as well as Natalie Wilkie each claimed their second gold medal of the Games while teammate Collin Cameron won his second bronze.
March 10: On Day 7, Canada’s wheelchair curling team grabbed the headlines with a huge comeback 7-6 victory over Norway in its last round-robin match to secure a berth in the semifinals.
March 11: Canada was back on the podium in style on Day 8 with five medals. Mollie Jepsen took silver in the giant slalom as did Mark Arendz in the 12.5 kilometre Para biathlon. Bronze medals were earned by the wheelchair curling team, Tyler Turner in the banked slalom, and Brittany Hudak in the women’s 12.5 kilometre Para biathlon.
March 12: Para nordic skiers Brian McKeever and Natalie Wilkie continued their dynamic performances in cross country adding a gold and silver medal respectively in the middle distance events for their third medals at the Games. McKeever secured the sweep of all three cross country distances for a fourth straight Games.
March 13: The Canadian Paralympic Team added two more medals on the final day to conclude the Games with a total of 25. The Para ice hockey team grabbed the silver and Para nordic skiers Collin Cameron, Emily Young, Mark Arendz, and Natalie Wilkie teamed up for bronze in the 4x2.5km cross country mixed relay.
To recap, Para nordic skiers Mark Arendz and Natalie Wilkie claimed the most medals for Canada, with four each.
Brian McKeever’s illustrious Paralympic career came to an end as he tied German Para alpine skier Gerd Schoenfelder for the most-ever gold medals won by a male winter Paralympian with 16. He finishes with 20 total medals, the most decorated male cross-country skier and Canadian winter athlete at the Paralympic Games.
Nine Canadians were multi-medallists, 12 won a medal in their Paralympic debut, and 37 of the 48 team members came home with a medal.