Salmon Arm’s Natalie Wilkie added a fourth medal to her Paralympics collection shortly before the 2022 Beijing Games in China closed Sunday, March 13.
Wilkie teamed with fellow Para nordic skiers Collin Cameron, Emily Young and Mark Arendz for bronze in the 4×2.5-kilometre cross country mixed relay.
Wilkie will return home to the Shuswap with two golds, silver and bronze from Beijing. She won gold in the long distance classic standing race and sprint standing event, and the silver came in the middle distance standing race.
She and Arendz were the most decorated athletes for Canada with four medals each, and, at age 21, Wilkie was Canada’s youngest medalist. She was competing in her second Paralympics.
Wilkie lost four fingers on her left hand in a school accident in 2016.
Para nordic skiers won Canada’s most medals, 14 in total.
In his sixth and final Paralympic Winter Games, the legendary Brian McKeever further cemented his bursting place in the sporting history books, winning three gold for a total of 20 career Paralympic medals. Already Canada’s most decorated Winter Paralympian and the world’s most successful male Para cross-country skier heading into the Games, he is also now tied with German Para alpine skier Gerd Schoenfelder for the most-ever gold medals won by a male winter Paralympian with 16.
OVERALL MEDAL TOTAL
Gold: 8 // Silver: 6 // Bronze: 11 // Total: 25
Canada finished third in the medal standings behind China and Ukraine. With 25 medals, the 48 athletes who competed in Beijing have orchestrated the county’s second-best Paralympic Winter Games. Four years ago, Canada won 28 medals, its current record.
Dennis Thiessen of wheelchair curling was Canada’s oldest medallist at the age of 60. Canada’s wheelchair curling team claimed bronze to extend its podium streak to five consecutive Games. Spallumcheen’s Ina Forrest won her fourth straight Paralympics wheelchair curling medal. She has two gold and two bronze medals.
Canada’s Opening Ceremony flag bearers Forrest and Greg Westlake (Para ice hockey) won a bronze and silver in their respective team sports, while Closing Ceremony flag bearer Mollie Jepsen of West Vancouver (Para alpine skiing) comes home with two medals, a gold and silver
“I am so thrilled for each and every athlete who competed for Canada over the past nine days,” said Team Canada Chef de Mission, Vernon’s Josh Dueck. “This team has displayed so much heart, resiliency, and passion and it has been an honour to have the opportunity to witness so many incredible athletes compete and show off all the dedication and hard work they have put in to be the best at what they do.
“There is so much to celebrate for the entire Canadian Paralympic Team, from every podium performance to the personal bests to so many moments in between that have all combined to elevate, motivate, and unite Canadians and Paralympic sport. It has been a successful Paralympic Winter Games for Canada, and I congratulate all the athletes, coaches, and staff for all their work in making this possible.”
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