In just three days of racing at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Nordic Skiing World Cup, the Canadians tallied four gold, four silver and two bronze medals at Telemark Resort in Cable, Wis.
Brian McKeever of the Canadian Para-Nordic World Cup Team led the onslaught, sweeping all three of his races: Sunday’s 10-kilometer freestyle, Monday’s 20 k Tuesday’s and skate sprint. He did so with the help of guide Erik Carleton, winning the two distance races by a combined 7 minutes and 21 seconds over Sweden’s Zebastien Modin. Kevin Burton of the U.S. consistently placed third in all three cross-country events with different guides, Beth Ann Chamberlain on Sunday and John Farra.
Wednesday is a training day in Cable, and the IPC World Cup will resume Thursday with biathlon races through Sunday.
The lone woman in the visually impaired sprint after two competitors did not start, Robbi Weldon also nabbed top honors for Canada.
Canadian Paralympic biathlete Mark Arendz also had a solid weekend, tallying two World Cup medals to bring his grand total in cross-country to three. (Arendz has multiple biathlon World Cup titles and was second overall in the IPC Biathlon World Cup standings last season). He won silver in Sunday’s 10 k standing freestyle race and again in the Monday’s skate sprint, where nearly won gold before stumbling in the last 50 meters. Norway’s Nils-Erik Ulset took the win.
“[Arendz] closed down Ulset, but just came up an inch short so we are happy with his result,” Canadian Paralympic Head Coach Robin McKeever said in a Cross Country Canada (CCC) press release. “It has been a good week for him in cross-country skiing and he will look to build on this for the biathlon races.”
“A lot of things were right where I want them, with my speed and fitness,” Arendz told CCC on Sunday. “It never sunk in until after the race that I was on track for a best-ever cross-country race. It shows that I’m in solid shape for the biathlon races later in the week.”
Canada’s Colette Bourgonje (national team) placed second (5 k sit ski), third (10 k) and fourth (sprint), respectively, throughout the three days, battling a flu toward the end of the races.
Dan Cnossen (U.S. Paralympics Nordic) notched his first World Cup podium on Sunday as the runner-up to Russian Ramil Ilalutdinov in the 10 k sit ski. He made it again on Monday, placing third in the 15 k.
Also earning bronze, Canada’s Margarita Gorbounova (with guide Andrea Bundon) was third in the visually impaired 5 k skate race.
Other notable results include newcomer Tatyana McFadden (U.S. Paralympics Track) placing fourth in Tuesday’s 10 k sit ski. That was a step up from placing fifth in Sunday’s 5 k in just her second batch of nordic races since first competing at U.S. nationals just over a week ago. Also for the U.S., Sean Halsted was fourth in the sit-ski sprint, followed by U.S. Paralympics teammates Andy Soule in fifth and Cnossen in sixth.
Kristy Vaughn (U.S. Paralympic Development) improved to fifth in the 10 k sit ski, after placing fifth two days before in the 5 k. In both their first World Cup races, Americans Beth Requist recorded a personal best of sixth (10 k sit ski) and Oksana Masters (U.S. Paralympics Rowing) was also sixth (sit-ski sprint). A Paralympic handcyclist, Alicia Brelsford Dana was eighth in two sit-ski distance races.
Also for the U.S., Jeremy Wagner (national team) was eighth in the 15 k sit ski and sprint, Aaron Pike notched ninth in the same event, Travis Dodson was ninth in the sit-ski sprint, Eric Frazier (national team) tallied two 10th-place finishes (15 k and sprint) and Halsted and Soule were consistently in the top seven.
Canada’s Louis Fortin had a best of seventh in Monday’s 20 k classic standing and Omar Bermejo (USA) followed in eighth.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.