This morning I woke up in Whistler Creekside and headed up to the Para-Alpine venue for Day 7 of the Vancouver 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The morning’s events included Para-Alpine downhill in the sitting, standing, and visually-impaired categories.
As a photo of a hockey puck sitting in Toronto’s Hockey Hall of Fame got more face time than Lauren Woolstencroft on the front cover of the Globe and Mail today, as she raced her way to her third gold medal of the Games. With three prosthetic limbs, she won gold in the giant slalom (standing) yesterday with a remarkable 7 second lead over the next competitor.
It was a great day for Canada on the slopes, even if it wasn’t on the ice as our men’s hockey team got bumped to the bronze medal round. Viviane Forest won gold in the downhill (visually impaired) while Josh Dueck placed fifth in downhill (sitting). Both Forest and Dueck each won silver medals earlier this week in the slalom.
The strength of these athletes is astounding, not only were they blazing down the mountain but they were doing it without use of either limbs or sight. The crowd in the grandstand blasted out several rounds of “O! Canada” while cowbells rung out in celebration. Japan, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, America and Canada were just a few of the nations I saw represented with flags, face-paint, jackets and cheers.
Over in the Callaghan Valley Brian McKeever also picked up his second gold today in 10-kilometre classic cross-country, giving him 9 Paralympic medals in his career. I was told that as McKeever and his guide 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.
Canada currently has 4 gold medals, 3 silver and 3 bronze as we head into the last few days of the Paralympics. You may view a full schedule of upcoming events over on the official website and you still have a few more days to check out some of the pavilions and attractions around town.