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Paralympics are Canada’s best ever

Woolstencroft wins five gold medals, McKeevers three

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Many of the Canadian athletes said they hoped the Games would serve as a recruiting tool, inspiring more young disabled athletes to get involved in winter sports.

"I've been getting e-mails from parents of blind kids saying 'you guys are inspiring and I know now that my kids can go far and succeed in sports,'" said Viviane Forest. "I totally believe it will make a difference. Now everyone has seen the Games and know that we exist, and that we're pretty good."

Canadians can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing, or understanding, what the Paralympics mean. In both 1976 and 1988 Canada passed on hosting the Paralympics for various reasons, which made the 2010 Games a first for the country. As well, media has never covered the Paralympics to the extent they did, with more hours of television broadcasting than any previous Paralympic Games - including some live events.

 

Alpine Roundup

Despite some delays and cancelled training runs at the start of the Games the organizers and track crew managed to pack in all five alpine disciplines in just eight days.

All told, Canadian athletes won 13 medals in alpine, with Lauren Woolstencroft and the team of Viviane Forest and Lindsay Debou winning five medals each.

As reported last week, the first event was the slalom after organizers decided to delay the speed events until later in the week to take advantage of clearing skies. Canada won four medals in the slalom with Viviane Forest and guide Lindsay Debou placing second in the women's visually impaired category. Josh Dueck, better known for speed events, also earned a silver medal after two solid runs on the technical course - his best result ever in a slalom event. The following day Lauren Woolstencroft won her first gold of the Games in the women's standing category, while teammate Karolina Wisniewska claimed the bronze.

That set up the giant slalom on Tuesday and Wednesday, which took place in the worst conditions - rain, snow, fog and wind.

Despite pulling her groin at a training camp a few weeks prior to the Paralympics, Forest hung in behind guide Debou to win the bronze medal in the GS.

"This medal feels like gold for me and I'm so happy with what I did today," she said.

Her teammates had a tougher day. Chris Williamson and guide Nick Brush finished fourth, less than half a second off the podium.

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