Event Advisory/Photo Opportunity - McKeever wins first Canadian Paralympic
winter gold at home

Para-Nordic great captures eighth career medal

WHISTLER, BC, March 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Para-Nordic skier Brian McKeever (Canmore, Alberta) became the first Canadian Paralympic champion on home soil as he captured the Men's 20km Free, Visually Impaired race with a time of 51:14.7 alongside his guide and brother, Robin, at Whistler Paralympic Park. The gold is McKeever's fifth of his illustrious career and eighth medal overall.

"This feels absolutely awesome," said Brian. "This has been eight years in the making and the one we wanted. We were inspired by Colette's (Bourgonje) performance yesterday. We wanted her to win gold, but she gave us the inspiration to go out and win today."

McKeever seems to make history every time he puts on skis. In addition to the first Paralympic gold for a Canadian on home soil, the 30-year-old became the first winter athlete to qualify for both the Olympic and Paralympic team.

"That was a lot harder than expected," expressed Robin. "But we worked extremely hard and got the victory. We haven't been extremely healthy but we had a good pace and Brian skied great. That was a great team effort and I am really proud to be Canadian and to do this in front of all of our friends and family."

Fellow Canadian Alexei Novikov, and guide Jamie Stirling, finished 13th in Monday's race with a time of 1:08.47.6.

Nikolay Polukhin (Russia) was second in 51:55.6 while Vasiki Shaptsiaboi (Belarus) was third in 52:22.5.

"Brian and Robin inspire our country and embody the Paralympic spirit," said Blair McIntosh, chef de mission, Team Canada. "We have seen numerous outstanding performances already during these Games and now today, we stand together proud of our golden boys."

Earlier this week, McKeever finished sixth in the Men's 3km Pursuit and will be competing in four more events at these Games.

    
    PARALYMPIC MEDIA HISTORY FOR BRIAN McKEEVER
    -------------------------------------------

    Year  Sport                  Event                                Medal

    2002  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 10 km Free Technique B3        Gold
    2002  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 5 km Classical Technique B3    Gold
    2002  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 20 km Free Technique visually  Silver
                                 impaired
    2006  Biathlon               Men's 7.5 km blind                   Bronze
    2006  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 10 km visually impaired        Gold
    2006  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 5 km visually impaired         Gold
    2006  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 20 km visually impaired        Silver
    2010  Cross Country Skiing   Men's 20 km visually impaired        Gold

    MEDIA AVAILABILITY
    ------------------

    Who:   Brian and Robin McKeever, gold medalist from Para-Nordic will be
           available to the media.

    How:   Accredited media only - Whistler Medals Plaza, Whistler at
           19:00 PT.
           All media - Canada Paralympic House (Whistler Public Library)
           immediately following medal ceremony.
    

About the Canadian Paralympic Committee

The Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) is a non-profit, private organisation with 43 member sports organisations dedicated to strengthening the Paralympic Movement. The CPC is responsible for creating an optimal high-performance environment for the Canadian Paralympic athletes to win at Paralympic and ParaPanAmerican Games. By supporting Canadian Paralympic athletes and promoting their success, the CPC inspires all Canadians with a physical disability to get involved in sport through programs delivered by its member organisations. For more information, visit www.paralympic.ca.

Follow the Canadian Paralympic Committee by becoming a fan on Facebook, and following on Twitter.

SOURCE Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)

For further information: For further information: Michael Cvitkovic, Press Chief, Canadian Paralympic Committee, mcvitkovic@tenniscanada.com, (416) 618-1266; Chris Dornan, Media Attache, Para-Nordic, Public Relations and Media, Cross Country Canada, hpprchris@comcast.net, (281) 703-4394


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