A golden day for Canada at the Paralympics

Woolstencroft wins third gold, McKeever earns second

WHISTLER, BC, March 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Lauren Woolstencroft continues to dominate at Whistler Creekside. The 28-year-old picked up her third gold medal of the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games on Thursday, winning the women's downhill, standing, with a time of 1:25.54.

Woolstencroft is the only para-alpine athlete to win triple gold at these Games to date and the first Canadian to win triple gold at any winter Paralympics. She now owns eight career medals, including six gold at the Paralympic Games.

Viviane Forest seems to like variety. She captured the gold medal in the women's downhill, visually impaired on Thursday with a time of 1.27:51. The win gives her one of each medal during these Paralympics. Forest and her guide, Lindsay Debou won silver in slalom and bronze in the giant slalom.

The Edmonton resident tweaked her groin during the first run of the slalom earlier in the week but raced through the pain en route to her first gold at the winter Games and third gold of her career. She won two gold medals in goalball at the Summer Paralympic Games.

"I was so petrified in the ski chairlift," said Forest after the race. "I'm very sore. I was pushing my luck a bit. We have three colours so far, a whole set."

He was the 11th racer to come out of the staggered start, but it didn't take long for Brian McKeever and his guide/brother, Robin, to blaze past the competition in the 10 kilometre classic, visually impaired race, and claim his second gold medal at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games.

McKeever finished the race in a time of 26:01.6 seconds, which was an incredible 1.38.6 seconds ahead of second place Helge Flo of Norway. The win marks the ninth Paralympic medal for the resident of Canmore, Alberta.

As the tandem skied down the final stretch, the announcer proclaimed to the enthusiastic crowd at Whistler Paralympic Park that they were witnessing the greatest cross-country skier of all time.

"Classic may be my event, but 10 kilometres is definitely not," said Brian. "It was fast conditions today, but we are used to it. We were listening for split times from the other competitors and trying to react to that."

Colette Bourgonje picked up a bronze medal in the women's 5 kilometre, sitting with a time of 15:16.4. Earlier in the week she won Canada's first winter Paralympic medal on home soil when she earned a silver medal in the women's 10 kilometre sitting category.

The Canadian sledge hockey team was upset in the semifinal by Japan 3-1 at UBC Thunderbird Arena. Marc Dorion scored Canada's lone goal. The team will play for a bronze medal on Friday at 19:00 PT.

Wheelchair curling concludes its round robin portion of the tournament on Thursday night when Canada faces Italy. Canada is already guaranteed a spot in the semifinal on Saturday at 10:00 PT.

Through six days of competition at the 2010 Vancouver Paralympic Winter Games, Canada has earned six gold, three silver and three bronze medals. Canada currently stands third among all nations in gold medal count.


                             MEDIA AVAILABILITY

    Who: - Today's medalists from Canada (athletes subject to change)

    How: - All media (accredited and non-accredited) at Canada Paralympic
           House (Whistler Public Library) immediately following the nightly
           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, (604) 388-8420, or (416) 618-1266; Marie-Helene Cayer, Media Relations (French Media), Canadian Paralympic Committee, mcayer@paralympic.ca, (778) 834-0337

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