SOTCHI, RUS. (le 13 mars 2014) - Le Canadien Chris Williamson, guidé par Nick Brush, a effectué un retour remarquable à la suite d'une blessure et d'un changement de dernière minute de son guide en remportant la médaille de bronze dans le slalom de déficience visuelle, jeudi, aux Jeux paralympiques d'hiver de Sotchi, en Russie, dans ce qui a été le toute première course de la saison 2013-14 de Williamson.
Le vétéran de 41 ans de Toronto, en Ontario, a passé à travers une fracture à une jambe subie l'été dernier pour participer à ses quatrièmes Jeux paralympiques d'hiver, n'ayant participé à aucune course de toute la saison dans le circuit de la Coupe du monde du Comité international paralympique.
Photo: Scott Grant/ Canadian Paralympic Committee
Just one week prior to arriving in Sochi, he also faced a change to his regular guide, Robin Fémy, and was reunited with Brush, his guide from the 2010 Vancouver Games. Brush, 25, from Invermere, B.C., and Williamson captured bronze in Sochi after having skied together again for only a few days.
“Overall, I am happy with any medal. It has been a long road to try to get to here,” said Williamson, who already has three Paralympic medals, including gold in slalom at the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. “To get a bronze here under these circumstances is exceptional. My guide Nick and I have worked really hard together in the past four days to be as ready for this as possible, so I think we’re doing exceptionally well.”
Williamson and Brush, who were tied for second after the first run, earned their bronze with a two-run combined time of one minute, 48.61 seconds.
“The weather and the course have been tricky all week … the snow is heavy and the course is filled with ruts; you really had to grind through it, and we were successful in doing that today.”
Williamson and Brush – who first raced together in 2007 and won the IPC World Cup overall Crystal Globe in 2009 – were close to the podium in Vancouver 2010 with two fourth-place finishes and two sixth-place finishes, so a medal in Sochi is especially sweet, Williamson said.
“It’s a monkey off our backs from 2010. We’re a successful duo, and it’s nice to be able to prove that again.”
“It’s so good to be back racing with Chris again,” Brush added. “It’s so cool and such a great experience to be able to come to the Paralympics again and race with him, and to win a medal makes me even happier.”
Williamson and Brush will race again in men’s giant slalom on Saturday, in what will be Williamson’s final race of his sixteen-year career.
“I can’t wait,” Williamson said. “I have nothing to loose. It’s my last event of the Paralympics, and it’s my last Paralympics, so whatever happens, happens. If I go home with an extra medal, that would be great, but if I go home with extra memories, that is great as well.”
Valerii Redkozubov of Russia won gold in the men’s visually impaired category (1:43.21), and Spain’s Yon Santacana earned silver (1:46.82). Canada’s Mac Marcoux, guided by Robin Fémy, did not finish his second run.
In the men’s standing category, Matt Hallat, of Coquitlam, B.C., laid down the best run of any of his three Paralympic Winter Games experiences, placing sixth (1:43.81) and “absolutely leaving it all out there.” Kirk Schornstein, from Spruce Grove, Alta., was 16th (1:54.05), and Duncan, B.C.’s Braydon Luscombe did not finish his second run.
In the sitting division, the Canadian men did note fare well on a rutty, bumpy track that caused some wild rides down the course. Defending slalom silver medallist Josh Dueck, of Kimberley, B.C., and Caleb Brousseau, of Terrace, B.C., did not finish their first runs, while Kurt Oatway, from Calgary, Alta., did not finish his second run.
The next alpine race is on Friday, with men’s and women’s super-G from Tuesday’s postponed super combined race.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Media are invited to visit photos.paralympic.ca and create an account to be able to download high-resolution photos of Canadian Paralympic athletes at any time, at no cost.
For full information about Team Canada at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Games, please visit paralympic.ca/team-canada.
Media attaché, para-alpine
SOCHI cell: 011-7-938-454-3196
Press Chief and para-snowboard media attaché
SOCHI Cell: 011-7-938-454-3162