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Paralympics are Canada’s best ever

Woolstencroft wins five gold medals, McKeevers three



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The Canadian cross-country team earned five medals, including three gold medals by visually impaired skier Brian McKeever and his brother/guide Robin.

It was an amazing and dominating performance from the pair, who weren't afraid to take a few chances on their way to the podium.

"That's what we were hoping for coming in, we've never won three medals before so that was a big goal for us," said Brian McKeever. "We definitely wanted it, but they were hard days because we came into the Games sick. But we had a lot of fun and it worked out perfectly."

According to McKeever the 20 km free event was the best team effort for the brothers. They finished the course over 40 seconds ahead of their closest competitor. The 10 km classic was tougher, said McKeever.

"It was just the hardest for me personally, I was just trying to keep up to Robin who was so much better than me that day." They finished almost a minute and a half faster than their closest competitors.

The last event of the Paralympic Games were the sprints, following a hilly 1.2 km course around the stadium of Whistler Olympic Park. For Brian, who passed his brother at the halfway point, it was all about tactics. They went all-out in the qualifier, then went a little slower in the semi-finals to win the heat by a ski length - saving their energy for the finals. There, they made the unusual decision for Brian to wear skate skis instead of classic skis and double-pole the entire course.

"It was a good, tough race and we had a good strategy and played our cards the way we wanted to today," he said.

"It was a little bit about the conditions and a little bit about the course because there's so much fast high-speed downhill on the second part of the course and all the flat at the end. If you're even within a few seconds (of the leader) up top you're going to make it up on the downhill, and that's exactly what we saw."

Because of the classification system the McKeevers started 29 seconds back of the first skiers, a huge gap to make up over a short course. However, they had closed in on the leaders by the high point in the course, dodged the Russian skier after a crash and then tucked down the last descent to glide into the lead before the flats. After that Brian McKeever pulled ahead, while Robin tried to stay out of the way of the other racers.

They got separated on the top of the course when they wound up in different lanes, and Brian said his lane was obviously faster than Robin's.

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