Paralympics are Canada’s best ever 

Woolstencroft wins five gold medals, McKeevers three


Canada's first Paralympics produced Canada's best result ever, with the team netting 19 medals, including 10 gold. As a result, Canada met its goal of placing third in the overall medal count, behind Russia with 38 medals and Germany with 24.

In comparison, the Canadians netted just 13 medals in 2006 and 15 in 2002, ranking sixth both times. In Nagano, Canada was 15 th in the medal count.

But while Canada came into the Paralympics with a strong team, a handful of athletes were responsible for most of the glory.

Lauren Woolstencroft won a world record five gold medals in the women's standing alpine events, all of them won by sizable margins. Although she has been the top racer in the world since the 2006 Paralympics, she had never dominated quite like this.

Visually impaired cross-country skier Brian McKeever and his brother/guide Robin added three gold medals to the team tally.

Viviane Forest of Edmonton, a visually impaired alpine skier, and Lindsay Debou, her Whistler-based guide, also earned five medals during the Games, including a gold medal in the downhill.

Karolina Wisniewska earned two medals in the women's standing alpine events, while cross-country sit-skier Colette Bourgonje earned two medals of her own. Sit skier Josh Dueck added one medal in the slalom, while Canada's wheelchair curling team went undefeated to take gold.

There were disappointments as well. The Canadian sledge hockey team finished without a medal after setting out to complete a sweep of all of the Olympic and Paralympic hockey gold medals.

Visually impaired skier Chris Williamson, who rarely finishes off the podium for more than two events in a row, was shut out this year. He was on pace to win gold in the downhill, but hit Hot Air - the bottom air on the Franz's Run course - with so much speed he flew 20 metres through the air and misjudged the landing.

Sit skier Kimberly Joines broke her leg two weeks before the start of the Paralympics and didn't compete in a single event. She was favoured to win at least two medals in the speed competitions.

One thing was clear during the Paralympic Games: Canada needs a little more depth in some events. For example, when Joines was injured there were no other Canadians in the women's sit ski competition, putting five medals out of reach of the team.

Canada only had one entry in several alpine disciplines, men's and women's visually impaired and women's sit-ski. In cross-country or biathlon there were only a handful of categories where Canada fielded more than one athlete, while Russia had at least two athletes in every group and usually four. All of Russia's 38 medals were earned in the Nordic sports.

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