PyeongChang, March 10, 2017 – It was a superb opening day for Canada at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, as the team posted four podium finishes in Para alpine and Para nordic skiing, as well as victories in wheelchair curling and Para ice hockey on Saturday.
TOP HIGHLIGHTS OF THE DAY:
The honour of Canada’s first medal at these Games went to 18-year-old Mollie Jepsen (West Vancouver, BC), who captured a bronze medal in the women’s standing downhill race. This is her first medal at her maiden Paralympic Games.
“I’m really proud to be able to represent Canada and bring home our first medal,” Jepsen said.
Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) and guide Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) raced to downhill gold in the men’s visually impaired category, Canada’s first top-of-the-podium finish of PyeongChang 2018. It is Marcoux’s fourth Paralympic medal after winning three in Sochi at the age of 16, but his first medal with Leitch.
“It’s surreal. I think we’re both still pretty numb with excitement,” Marcoux said following his winning run. “This takes a lot of pressure off the rest of the week.”
Collin Cameron (Sudbury, ON) made Canadian history in his Paralympic debut. The 29-year-old is the first Canadian man to ever win a medal in Para nordic sit skiing. He took home a bronze in the 7.5KM men’s sitting biathlon on Saturday.
“This is crazy. I didn’t expect this today,” laughed Cameron. “I felt really great getting down on the mat (shooting) and was in position every time. It got me on the podium today, and it is absolutely crazy.”
Mark Arendz (Hartsville, PEI) matched his 2014 result in the 7.5KM men’s standing biathlon, posting a silver-medal performance. The three-time Paralympian now has three Paralympic medals to his name.
“I grew up on a little farm in Prince Edward Island, and here I am now as a three-time Paralympic medallist,” Arendz said. “I guess I’m proof if you dream big and set your mind to something, amazing things can happen regardless of where you are from.”
Sweden was no match for Canada’s Para ice hockey team as the red-and-white squad prevailed by a remarkable 17-0 to open its Paralympic tournament. The Canadians scored seven goals in the first period to set the tone. Tyler McGregor (Forest, ON) put forth a four-goal performance while Bryan Sholomicki (Winnipeg, MB) netted a hat trick for Canada.
“Felt great to get out there on the ice as we’ve been training a lot, so it’s nice to get out there and put the game plan in place,” Sholomicki said. “It’s always a great feeling to help contribute to your success and your team’s success so it felt amazing.”
In wheelchair curling, Canada enjoyed a flourishing start led by skip Mark Ideson (London, ON). A dominant 8-0 victory over Switzerland was followed by a 10-1 win over Norway to see Canada take a 2-0 record through its first two matches of round-robin action.
“The team is gelling. We’re learning the ice, and we’re feeling pretty good,” said Ideson. “It’s four people out there, trying their hardest.”