1. Chris Klebl stuns field to capture cross-country gold
On any given Sunday, anyone can win, and Canada’s Chris Klebl proved it by coming out of nowhere to win the men’s 10 km sitting cross-country race on the final day of Paralympic competition in Sochi.
After failing to earn any medals in Turin in 2006 or Vancouver in 2010, the 42-year-old, who finished 21st in the 10K at last year’s world championships, was definitely not considered a medal threat coming into the event.
Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., took the lead over the pre-race favourites at the four-kilometre mark and never looked back, crossing the finish line in a time of 30 minutes, 52 seconds. Ukrainian Maksym Yarovyi finished 14.5 seconds back of Klebl to grab the silver medal, while Russia’s Grigory Murygin collected the bronze.
2. Brian McKeever makes Canadian Paralympic history
Legendary Canadian cross-country skier Brian McKeever, already a double gold medallist at the 2014 Paralympics, topped the podium again on Sunday in the men’s visually impaired 10 km race.
The win by the 34-year-old from Canmore, Alta., makes him the first Canadian Winter Paralympian to earn 10 gold medals in a career.
McKeever followed the same script that worked for him in the 1 km sprint, when he came from behind late in the race to win. This time, McKeever trailed Russian rival Stanislav Chokhlaev up until the final kilometre, before making a big final push in the final stretch to take the lead, winning his third gold medal in Sochi.
3. Kimberley Joines' medal hopes dashed
If the giant slalom was a one-run event, Canada’s Kimberley Joines would have had her first gold medal and second medal of the 2014 Paralympic Games.
The 33-year-old sit-skier had put herself in perfect position to win, after a solid first run gave her a 1.16 second advantage over second place heading into the final run.
Unfortunately, she joined the ranks of many skiers that have succumbed to the tough course conditions this week, as the native of Rossland, B.C., made too wide a turn early in her second run and failed to recover in time, forcing her to miss a gate and crash out of the competition.
Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber found the course much more to her liking, clocking a time of 2:51:26 for her two runs to win the event. Austria’s Claudia Loesch finished second, 4.65 seconds back, while Schaffelhuber’s teammate, Anna-Lena Forster, grabbed the bronze.
With the giant slalom victory, Schaffelhuber became only the second athlete in history to sweep the alpine events at the Paralympics. Canadian Lauren Woolstencroft is the other skier to accomplish the feat, done in 2010.