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Athletes to watch out for: Pyeongchang Paralympics 2018

By Julianna Perkins

 

If you’re sad that the Olympics are over and you no longer have something to play in the background of your life 24/7, fear not. The 2018 Pyeongchang Paralympics have begun and they promise to deliver all the sports-related drama you’re looking for.

From March 9th to 18th, athletes from dozens of countries will gather in Pyeongchang, South Korea to compete at the highest level. Expect plenty of incredible wins, crushing losses, and brutal yet inspiring competition.

The Paralympic event table is made up of six sports: para alpine skiing, para biathlon, para cross-country skiing, para ice hockey, para snowboard, and wheelchair curling. There are multiple events under each category.

Team Canada is sending a total of 55 athletes to the Games and will be participating in all six sports. They will be led by three-time Paralympic para ice hockey medallist and official chef de mission Todd Nicholson.

While all the athletes are world-class and hoping to see success at the Games, keep an eye on the five below who are sure to push the envelope.

Alana Ramsay

These will be the second Paralympics for Ramsay, 22, of Calgary. She will be competing in the para alpine category and typically favours the super g, downhill and giant slalom events. Though she finished ninth and 10th in the slalom and super g events respectively at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, she recently finished with one silver and three bronze medals at the 2017 World Para Alpine Skiing Championships in January 2017 in Tarvisio, Italy. Ramsay started skiing at the age of six and has cerebral palsy, which affects the right side of her body. Read more about her here.

Brian McKeever

This 38-year-old, hailing from Canmore, Alta., is one of Canada’s Paralympic all-stars. Competing in the para nordic events, he was named to both the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic teams in 2010. Overall, McKeever has collected a total of 13 medals across four Paralympic Games, including 10 gold medals. He is the most decorated Canadian winter Paralympian. Prepare to watch him continue to crush it in the one-, 10- and 20-kilometer cross country races. McKeever first began skiing at age three and has Stargardt disease, which affects his vision. Read more about him here.

Michelle Salt

Born in Edmonton, this Calgary resident competed at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games on Canada’s first ever Paralympic snowboard team, placing ninth in the snowboard cross. At previous World Cup and World Championship events, she has competed in the snowboard cross and the banked slalom, consistently finishing in either second or fourth place, respectively. In 2011, Salt lost her right leg above the knee to a near-fatal motorcycle accident. Read more about her here.

Billy Bridges and Adam Dixon

These two para ice hockey players have been key members of Canada’s Paralympic sledge hockey teams for a while. Pyeongchang will be Bridges fifth Paralympic Games and Dixon’s third. Bridges, 33, from Summerside, P.E.I., has a one-armed slapshot that has been clocked at 80 miles per hour and was born with Spina Bifida. Dixon, 28, from nearby Midland, Ont., was Canada’s top scorer at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games and lost his right tibia to Ewing’s sarcoma at age 10. Read more about them here and here.

 

See the full Canadian Paralympic roster here.

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