A teenager from Sault Ste. Marie will be representing Team Canada in para-alpine skiing when the Paralympic Games open Friday in Sochi, Russia.
Mac Marcoux usually relies on the eyesight of his brother, BJ, to navigate the slopes, but this time he has to put his trust in someone else.
An injury to BJ's back means Marcoux will have to ski with a new guide.
“[I’m] definitely bummed out,” BJ said. “I'm going to be at the bottom of the hill cheering him on and supporting him as much as I can.”
Former downhill ski racer Robin Femy will step in to guide Marcoux down the course in Sochi.
Femy says he will do his best to stay in front of the young speedster.
“When we ski with older guys, usually they are more concerned about the speeds, but Mac always looks for the bigger jump or the biggest speed, so it's really fun,” Femy said.
At 16-years-old, Mac Marcoux is the youngest member of the Canadian Paralympic team in Sochi.
“On a good day, you can get up to … 115, 120 [kilometres an hour,]” he said.
And he does so without the benefit of his vision, which he lost to a degenerative condition at nine years of age.
“I have no central vision and six per cent peripheral,” Marcoux said.
During the race, his guide skis in front and describes the course through radios in their helmets.
The last-minute change in guide is being taken in stride by the teenager.
“Right now I am feeling pretty stoked about it,” he said. “I’m going in pretty open minded. [We’ll] just do what we do and hope for the best.”
The Para-alpine events start on Saturday. For live coverage of the games...go to cbc.ca/paralympics.