It has been another successful day for our Canadian athletes as they claim gold in both wheelchair curling and giant slalom, and a bronze in sledge hockey.
It appears that Mac Marcoux’s performance on March 14th did not dwell upon him as he sailed to gold in men’s visually impaired giant slalom on Saturday. The 16-year-old of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario crossed the finish line at 2:29.62, over 2 seconds ahead of the silver-medalist, Jakub Krako, and nearly four seconds ahead of bronze-medalist Valerii Redkozubov.
“This is a dream come true,” Marcoux beamed. “It is so surreal, I was nervous at the top. I tried to relax and forget about everything, listen to music, because when you think too much it can mess with your head.”
“It is the best moment of my life. I can’t even explain how amazing this is.”
With the help of his guide, Robin Fémy, Marcoux had an extremely fast and clean first run with a whopping lead. However, the Ontarian narrowly avoided disaster in his second run when he nearly crashed after hitting a rut.
“About halfway down it got a little rough and I almost lost it on the second pitch,” Marcoux said. “I had to pull it back together.”
Nevertheless, Marcoux scored a gold, adding to the medals he has already won. This gives the Canadian Paralympic Committee a lot to think about when it comes to choosing a flag-bearer at Sunday’s closing ceremony.
Meanwhile, in sledge hockey, Canada had an opportunity to erase the bad memories of the loss to Norway four years ago in the Vancouver Paralympics. Our team took full advantage on Saturday, defeating Norway 3-0 to take the bronze medal at the Games.
The Canadian sledge hockey team celebrating their bronze medal win.
After the heartbreaking 3-0 defeat in the semifinal match on Thursday against the Americans, Canada was in the danger of another fourth-place result letdown going into the contest. However, the athletes brought the intensity and tenacity that was missing in Vancouver and never let up.
Another gold was awarded to Canada in wheelchair curling Saturday. Jim Armstrong’s rink showed its experience at the Ice Cube Curling Center in defeating Russia 8-3 to win the prize.
“Once we erased that two-point lead and got a point or two up and had them coming to us, it’s a much more difficult game,” said Armstrong, who also skipped Canada to gold four years ago in Vancouver. “Today we were on the right side of the inch and they weren’t.”
Russia led 2-0 after the first end, but after that it was all Canada as the country won its third straight Paralympic gold medal.
Canada’s skip Jim Armstrong, center, smiles during a wheelchair curling match.
“The ice held well even with the huge crowd. It was just a little bit easier technically, mechanically to play a little better and my guys came to play,” he said. “Russia played very well in the early going. I didn’t think they had any idea how to miss.”
Sunday is the last day of the Sochi 2014 Winter Paralympics. There will be two alpine skiing events before the closing ceremony at 20:00, Sochi time.
Image sources: cbc.ca, cbc.ca, ctvnews.ca