SOCHI, Russia, March 13, 2014 /CNW/ - Canada's Chris Williamson, guided
by Nick Brush, made a remarkable comeback from injury and a last-minute
change to his guide by winning bronze in the men's visually impaired
slalom on Thursday at the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in
what was Williamson's very first race of the 2013-14 season.
The 41-year-old veteran from Toronto, Ont., pushed through a leg break
sustained this past summer to make it to his fourth Paralympic Winter
Games, having not raced at all this season on the International
Paralympic Committee World Cup circuit.
Just one week prior to arriving in Sochi, he also faced a change to his
regular guide, Robin Fémy, and was reunited with Brush, his guide from
the 2010 Vancouver Games. Brush, 25, from Invermere, B.C., and
Williamson captured bronze in Sochi after having skied together again
for only a few days.
"Overall, I am happy with any medal. It has been a long road to try to
get to here," said Williamson, who already has three Paralympic medals,
including gold in slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. "To get a
bronze here under these circumstances is exceptional. My guide Nick and
I have worked really hard together in the past four days to be as ready
for this as possible, so I think we're doing exceptionally well."
Williamson and Brush, who were tied for second after the first run,
earned their bronze with a two-run combined time of one minute, 48.61
"The weather and the course have been tricky all week … the snow is
heavy and the course is filled with ruts; you really had to grind
through it, and we were successful in doing that today."
Williamson and Brush - who first raced together in 2007 and won the IPC
World Cup overall Crystal Globe in 2009 - were close to the podium in
Vancouver 2010 with two fourth-place finishes and two sixth-place
finishes, so a medal in Sochi is especially sweet, Williamson said.
"It's a monkey off our backs from 2010. We're a successful duo, and it's
nice to be able to prove that again."
"It's so good to be back racing with Chris again," Brush added. "It's so
cool and such a great experience to be able to come to the Paralympics
again and race with him, and to win a medal makes me even happier."
Williamson and Brush will race again in men's giant slalom on Saturday,
in what will be Williamson's final race of his sixteen-year career.
"I can't wait," Williamson said. "I have nothing to loose. It's my last
event of the Paralympics, and it's my last Paralympics, so whatever
happens, happens. If I go home with an extra medal, that would be
great, but if I go home with extra memories, that is great as well."
Valerii Redkozubov of Russia won gold in the men's visually impaired
category (1:43.21), and Spain's Yon Santacana earned silver (1:46.82).
Canada's Mac Marcoux, guided by Robin Fémy, did not finish his second
In the men's standing category, Matt Hallat, of Coquitlam, B.C., laid
down the best run of any of his three Paralympic Winter Games
experiences, placing sixth (1:43.81) and "absolutely leaving it all out
there." Kirk Schornstein, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was 16th (1:54.05), and Duncan, B.C.'s Braydon Luscombe did not finish his
In the sitting division, the Canadian men did note fare well on a rutty,
bumpy track that caused some wild rides down the course. Defending
slalom silver medallist Josh Dueck, of Kimberley, B.C., and Caleb
Brousseau, of Terrace, B.C., did not finish their first runs, while
Kurt Oatway, from Calgary, Alta., did not finish his second run.
The next alpine race is on Friday, with men's and women's super-G from
Tuesday's postponed super combined race.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Media are invited to visit photos.paralympic.ca and create an account
to be able to download high-resolution photos of Canadian Paralympic
athletes at any time, at no cost.
For full information about Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic
Games, please visit paralympic.ca/team-canada.
SOURCE: Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC)
For further information:
Media attaché, para-alpine
SOCHI cell: 011-7-938-454-3196
Press Chief and para-snowboard media attaché
SOCHI Cell: 011-7-938-454-3162