Paralympic wake-up call: McKeever races to 16th career gold, Wilkie returns to podium

Brian McKeever ended his final individual Paralympic event in a spot he became very familiar with over six winter Games: the top of the podium. The Canmore, Alta., native claimed the men's visually impaired middle-distance cross-country title on Saturday.

Here's what you may have missed on Day 8 of the Beijing Paralympic Games

Brian McKeever ended his final individual Paralympic event in a spot he became very familiar with over six winter Games: the top of the podium.

The 42-year-old retiring great claimed the men's visually impaired middle-distance cross-country title on Saturday to add a 16th Paralympic gold to his stellar resume.

And he did it in style, posting a time of 33 minutes 6.6 seconds to finish 52.5 seconds ahead of silver medallist Zebastian Modin of Sweden.

Since the Salt Lake City Games in 2002, McKeever has captured 20 medals — becoming Canada's most decorated Winter Paralympian.

Now, the Canmore, Alta., native is also the male athlete with the most titles in Paralympic Games history, tied with German Para alpine skier Gerd Schoenfelder, who last competed in Vancouver 2010.

WATCH l McKeever captures 16th career gold to wrap up historic Paralympic career:

On Sunday at 10:55 p.m ET, McKeever has the opportunity to steer clear of Schoenfelder in the open 4x2.5-kilometre Para cross-country skiing team relay race.

"After 20 years of doing this, it's an honour to be a part of the Paralympics," McKeever said, when asked about the possibility in a post-event interview.

"So we'll go out and enjoy it and still make ourselves heard, keep on going and enjoying this beautiful weather we've had and looking forward to finishing on a fun day."

In Beijing, McKeever has also won gold medals in the men's visually impaired sprint race and middle distance Para cross-country events.

His latest title was Canada's eighth gold medal in Beijing. Canadian athletes have also earned five silver and 10 bronze for a total of 23, putting the country in third in the medal table behind China (58 overall) and Ukraine (28 overall).

Read more about McKeever's 16th Paralympic title.

Here's more of what you missed on Friday night and Saturday morning in the Beijing Paralympics:

Wilkie grabs silver for 3rd medal in Beijing

Natalie Wilkie was the other Canadian athlete to make it to the podium on Day 8.

The Salmon Arm, B.C., native overcame a fall in the final part of the women's standing 10km cross-country race to earn silver with a time of 41:45.3 seconds.

Canada's Natalie Wilkie, left, who won silver in the women's standing 10km Para cross-country event on Saturday, stands next to gold medallist Oleksandra Kononova, centre, and bronze medallist Iryna Bui, both from Ukraine. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Fellow Canadians Brittany Hudak and Emily Young finished seventh and 11th, respectively. Ukraine's Oleksandra Kononova won the event, capturing her first Paralympic gold medal in the sport since Vancouver 2010.

Wilkie, a 21-year-old two-time Paralympian, now has three medals in each of the Games she competed in.

At PyeongChang 2018, she captured a full set with a medal of each colour. In Beijing, Wilkie previously won the women's standing 15km and the 1.5km sprint events for her second and third career gold medals.

Read more about Wilkie's third medal in Beijing.

WATCH l Wilkie wins Para cross-country skiing silver medal:

Just missed the podium

Two athletes almost made it a 3-medal night for Canada.

Bracebridge, Ont., native Collin Cameron, 33, crossed the line fourth in the men's sitting 10km cross-country event, 5.3 seconds behind bronze medallist Giuseppe Romele of Italy.

In the women's Para alpine standing slalom race, 21-year-old Michaela Gosselin, of Collingwood, Ont., also came fourth, 6.37 shy of a podium finish.

China defends wheelchair curling title

China is the back-to-back Paralympic wheelchair curling champion.

The home curlers downed Sweden 8-3 to defend their PyeongChang 2018 gold medal a day after ousting eventual bronze medallists Canada in the semifinals.

The Chinese squad started the tournament on a low, suffering losses to Canada and Sweden before turning amassing 10 consecutive wins — including playoff victories over the same teams that were able to edge them in round robin play.

Read more about China's victory over Sweden for the wheelchair curling gold medal.

WATCH l China downs Sweden in wheelchair curling gold-medal match:

Good boy

Carina Edlinger of Austria knew exactly who to celebrate with after claiming her first Paralympic gold medal.

The 23-year-old two-time Paralympian won the women's visually impaired Para cross-country skiing sprint race on Day 8, sharing a moment with her guide dog, Riley, after topping the podium.

Edlinger won two bronze medals at PyeongChang 2018.

Here's a quick look at other Day 8 events in Beijing:

Yang Hongqiong of China is now three-for-three in Para cross-country gold medals at the Beijing Paralympics after winning the women's sitting skiing middle distance race on Saturday. (Michael Steele/Getty Images)
At just 16 years old, Alexandra Rexova of Slovakia, seen on the shoulders of her guide Eva Trajcikova, earned a bronze medal in the women's visually impaired slalom race for her second Beijing Paralympics medal. (Yifan Ding/Getty Images)

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