Forrest in semi-finals

The North Okanagan's own Ina Forrest is making a run for a gold medal – again.

The Armstrong resident is half-way around the world, playing for the Canadian curling team at the Paralympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Forrest and the rest of Team Canada will be taking on China in the semi-finals tomorrow.

Canada is going into the contest with a record of 9-2 after defeating Germany Thursday morning.

The other semi-final game will see host country South Korea challenge Norway.

The winning teams from those two contests will meet for the coveted gold medal.

“The pressure now is playing for each other. We’ve been a great group. We’re a team of 10, not just the five players out there,” skip Mark Ideson of London, Ont. told paralympic.org. “We’ve got a great support staff and they’ve been working hard all week. Together, if we can stick to our plan, we’ll be alright.”

Should Canada reach the top of the podium, it would be Forrest's third Paralympic gold medal.

Forrest has been curling since 2004 and is one of the most decorated wheelchair curlers in the world, having won not only Paralympic gold, but numerous other titles including competing in nine straight world wheelchair curling championships.

She was inducted into the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame in 2016.


Going for hockey gold

Team Canada has advanced to the gold medal game at the Paralympic games.
Host South Korea was no match for Canada on the ice at the Gangneung Hockey Centre.

The building was packed to watch Canada win 7-0 and earn a spot in the gold medal game.

Canada will now have two days off before facing off against the United States for gold on Sunday.

The captain of team Canada, Greg Westlake says “we were tight early, the first five or six shots we took missed the net. Nobody got frustrated and the bench was really positive which is what you need in big games. Eventually, we broke through and got the first one, the next and then we got rolling and that’s a good lesson going into the next game.”

Wilkie brings home bronze

Canada's youngest competitor at the PyeongChang Paralympics will be coming home with a medal.

Salmon Arm's Natalie Wilkie won a bronze medal in the 1.5k women's standing sprint in cross-country skiing.

The 17-year-old finished in five minutes 14.3 seconds.

She was just a tenth of second behind silver medalist Vilde Nilsen of Norway.

It was the second event at the games for Wilkie, who finished sixth in the 15k free standing event.

Wilkie has one event remaining in PyeongChang, the 7.5k classic standing at the end of the week.


McKeever to carry flag

Ten-time gold medallist Brian McKeever will carry Canada's flag in Friday's opening ceremonies of the Pyeongchang Paralympics.

The 38-year-old visually impaired skier from Canmore, Alta., has owned the top of the medal podium, going undefeated in Paralympic competition since 2006.

"It's a big honour, it's a big deal," McKeever said of being named flag-bearer. "The timing was good, it's the end of my career, so it's all these things kind of coming together. So it is pretty exciting to have the opportunity."

McKeever, who will lead a team of 55 athletes and guides into Pyeongchang Stadium, was poised to make history in 2010 in Vancouver at the world's first athlete to compete in both the winter Olympics and Paralympics in the same year. But Canada's Olympic cross-country coaches opted to enter four other skiers in the men's 50-kilometre race and not McKeever.

Still, he made history as the first Canadian to be named to both a Paralympic and Olympic team in the same year, and a few weeks after the Olympics, he shrugged off his heartbreak by racing to three Paralympic gold medals.

Four years ago in Sochi, McKeever got tangled up with a Russian skier near the start of the one-kilometre race, but clambered back to his feet and he and guide Graham Nishikawa caught up to win gold.

McKeever competed in cross-country skiing from the age of 13, and raced at the world junior championships in 1998. A year later, at the age of 19, he started to lose his eyesight and was diagnosed with Stargardt's disease, an inherited condition of macular degeneration that also claimed his father's vision.

He roared to a pair of gold medals in his Paralympic debut in 2002 in Salt Lake City, and would race to eight more over four Paralympics, plus a pair of silver medals and two bronze.

He's also racked up 19 world titles, including two in February 2017 over 10 and 20 kilometres.

McKeever's 10 Paralympic golds match the amount earned by wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc and swimmers Michael Edgson and Timothy McIsaac.

The skier said his competitive spirit may show itself during the opening ceremonies.

"Racer mentality probably means I'll be catching the teams in front," he said. "I think there will probably be people there to keep me in place. Which is good... Blind guy will just wander all over."

McKeever has called American distance runner Marla Runyan, who also has Stargardt's disease, one of his idols. Runyan was competitive against both visually impaired and able-bodied runners, racing to five Paralympic titles and an eighth-place finish at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She won the 1,500 metres at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

McKeever's older brother Robin competed at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, then raced as Brian's guide before becoming the para-Nordic head coach.

Note to readers: This story has been updated. A previous version incorrectly referred to the closing ceremonies, instead of the opening ceremonies of the Paralympics.

More PyeongChang 2018 articles


PyeongChang 2018 Medal Count
4United States98623
6South Korea58417
7Olympic Athlete
from Russia


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