Sault's Mac &BJ MarcouxWin Silver at IPC World Champs
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February 26th, 2013 | Last Updated at 4:55pm
The Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team added to its podium hot streak at the International Paralympic Committee Alpine World Skiing Championships on Tuesday, winning two silver and three bronze medals in giant slalom.
Fifteen-year-old Mac Marcoux, racing with brother and guide Billy Joe Marcoux, 18, claimed silver in the competitive men’s visually impaired category to become what is believed to be the youngest-ever Canadian to medal at a para-alpine world championship event.
Visually-impaired skier Viviane Forest also captured silver, while Chris Williamson, Kimberly Joines and Alexandra Starker took bronze in the men’s visually impaired and women’s sitting and standing categories, respectively.
“I’m so excited. Winning a world championship medal wasn’t even in my deepest thoughts for this year,” Mac Marcoux said after the race. “Now that it happened, I don’t even know what to think. It’s amazing.”
The young racer, from Sault Ste-Marie, Ont., was first out of the start gate and held the lead after a blistering fast first run that put him one place ahead of Spain’s Yon Santacana – the world downhill, super-G, and now giant slalom champion – and veteran teammate Chris Williamson. Just 0.63 seconds separated the top four skiers before the start of the second run.
“The first run was really awesome. I didn’t expect to be that far ahead,” Marcoux said. “We were the first racers to go down, so it was so nail-biting and scary to watch the other skiers because it looked like they all skied so great.”
“It was a super exciting race,” said Canada’s para-alpine World Cup coach, Lasse Ericsson. “Both the Marcoux (brothers) and Chris made small mistakes in the second run so the Marcoux (brothers) couldn’t hold on to first place, but we are very happy to be second and third.”
The Marcoux brothers finished with a two-run combined time of two minutes 13.59 seconds, which wasn’t enough to catch Santacana, who claimed his third gold medal of the world championships (2:12.32). Williamson, from Toronto, Ont., crossed the line in third place (2:13.87) with guide Robin Fémy of Mont-Tremblant, Que., earning his fourth medal in five events at the world championships.
The silver medal is the Marcoux brothers’ first-ever world championship podium result.
“It’s an honour. Wow,” a nearly speechless Marcoux said of the news that he might just be the youngest-ever Canadian to win a medal at a para-alpine championship. “That is super cool. Amazing. Thanks a lot to my coaches and my brother – I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.”
Incredibly, Mac Marcoux raced in his first-ever para-alpine ski event just two years ago. A speed demon on the go-cart track before he lost his vision in 2007, Marcoux started para-alpine racing after trying his hand at cross-country skiing, and with a few years of able-bodied alpine skiing experience to draw on. This season he has been racing as a prospect athlete with the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team, and has already earned three IPC World Cup podiums in his first year of eligibility on the international circuit.
Forest, a fellow visually impaired racer from Edmonton, Alta. who races with guide Chloé Lauzon-Gauthier of Joliette, Que., capped off a strong world championship comeback by winning silver in Tuesday’s giant slalom (2:27.81). The ladies’ visually impaired category was won by Alexandra Frantseva of Russia (2:27.57), while Great Britain’s Kelly Gallagher took bronze (2:29.07).
The silver medal is Forest’s second of the weeklong event in La Molina, Spain, where she also won bronze in slalom. After missing the last world championships due to injury, the seasoned racer was thrilled with her overall performance.
“In the second run, Chloé and I had a very solid run. I have no regrets about it,” Forest said. “I think this is an amazing comeback. After two years of waiting for surgery, and the pain and training, I couldn’t hope for better. I’m very pleased with everything.”
Forest will add her technical skills to the team event on Wednesday, which is the final event of the world championships in La Molina.
“I have high hopes for tomorrow,” Forest said. “I think we are going to have a great result in the team event. There are amazing skiers and staff here, which showed when it all paid off today with our five medals.”
Joines, from Rossland, B.C., and Starker, from Calgary, Alta., both claimed bronze in the giant slalom. Starker, who finished in 2:28.26, was up against French sensation Marie Bochet (2:21.61), who took her fifth gold in as many events at the world championships. The bronze medal is 18-year-old Starker’s third bronze at her first para-alpine world championships.
Joines battled with Germany’s Anna Schaffelhuber (2:31.23), who she edged out for silver in Monday’s super-combined but couldn’t catch in the giant slalom. Joines finished in 2:38.40. Austria’s Claudia Loesch won with a time of 2:29.70. The bronze medal is Joines’ fourth medal in five events at La Molina.
“We had a fabulous day today. We are super, super happy with the day and the results,” Ericsson concluded. “We are definitely hoping this sets us up well to be on the top of the podium in tomorrow’s team event.”
Standing skier Braydon Luscombe, from Duncan, B.C., and sit-skier Caleb Brousseau, from Terrace, B.C., both charged hard in their first runs, but they skied out. Josh Dueck, a sit-skier from Kimberley, B.C., did not start Tuesday’s race.
Canada has racked up 14 medals at the para-alpine world championships: one gold, five silver and eight bronze. The team is eighth in the overall medal standings and has so far won more medals than any other country. France leads the rankings with 12 medals, seven of which are gold.
Two Canadian teams will enter the final race of the world championships, the team event, on Wednesday