After the splendid opening ceremony on March 7th, our Canadian athletes started strong at Sochi’s 2014 Paralympic games, earning 2 silver medals and 3 bronze.
Mark Arendz landed a silver medal in the men’s 7.5km biathlon race, the first ever Canadian to do so in this event. The 24-year-old from Prince Edward Island fell short of gold by just seven tenths of a second to the Russian gold medallist Vladislav Lekomtcev. Russia’s Azat Karachurin won bronze.
“It feels absolutely great and a big relief to get on the podium right away,” beamed Arendz after the race. “I fought as hard as I could, and it was such a close race at the end.”
Josh Dueck of British Columbia acquired the second of the five medals: a silver in the men’s downhill sit-ski. Dueck, who had to use a wheelchair after a freestyle skiing accident in 2004, scored a time of 1:24.19. This was his second medal after claiming silver in slalom during the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
“This is fantastic,” Dueck said. “I’m really about performance, and I took a fast line down the hill and took some chances and I got pretty lucky. I crossed the line and I was thrilled. Second is awesome.”
Japan’s Akira Kano and Takeshi Suzuki won gold and bronze, respectively.
Meanwhile, 16-year-old Mac Marcoux of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, guided by Robin Femy of Mont-Tremblant, Québec, earned a bronze in the men’s visually impaired downhill competition on Saturday. Marcoux had a time of 1:23.02, while Yon Satacana Maiztegui of Spain won the gold medal with a time of 1:21.76. Silver went to Slovakia’s Miroslav Haraus with a time of 1:22.01.
But this wasn’t Marcoux’s only win so far. Despite a major technical glitch, the young athlete managed to earn himself a bronze medal in the men’s visually impaired super-G on Sunday.
Mac Marcoux (right) and his guide, Robin Fémy (left), celebrate their bronze win.
At the starting gate, Marcoux realized his radio headset, which he uses to communicate with his guide Robin Fémy, wasn’t working. The technical difficulty forced Marcoux, who has no central vision whatsoever and only six per cent peripheral vision, to ski at more than 100 kilometers per hour with just the sound of Fémy’s shouts to guide him.
“When I realized what happened with the radios it was a little bit scary, but I got it together and just did the best I could in the situation,” said Marcoux. “I’m super happy it worked out. Bronze like this? I can’t believe it.”
Marcoux was just nine-hundredths of a second off of the gold medal position, with a time of one minute, 20.77 seconds.
In the meantime, Canada emerged victorious against Norway in the sledge hockey game on Sunday, with a score of 4-0.
And on Sunday, Terrace-born Caleb Brousseau claimed bronze in another men’s downhill sit-ski event, with a time of 1:22.05. Gold and silver went to Japanese athletes Akira Kano and Taiki Morii.
Other Canadian athletes are also scheduled to participate in five events on Monday including ice sledge hockey, wheelchair curling and women’s 10km sitting biathlon.
Image sources: ctvnews.ca, cbc.ca