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2 more medals for Canada's alpine skiers

March 14, 2006
CBC Sports

Canadians Kimberly Joines and Chris Williamson each won a bronze medal in alpine skiing Tuesday at the Torino Paralympic Winter Games, bringing Canada's medal count in the sport to four. Canada has won six medals overall.

Williamson, from Markham, Ont., finished third in the men's visually impaired super-G on Tuesday, posting a time of one minute, 14.53 seconds. Gianmaria Dal Maistro of Italy won the event in 1:14.160 while Radomir Dudas of Slovakia was second in 1:14.370.

It was the second medal of the Torino Games for Williamson, who won silver in the visually impaired downhill on Sunday.

Williamson and guide Bobby Taylor of Vancouver originally finished fourth on Tuesday but Germany's Gerd Gradwohl, who was in the bronze medal position, was disqualified for becoming separated by more than one directional change from his guide.

Williamson, who said he was disqualified for the same offence at the 2004 world championships, criticized the rule.

"It doesn't make sense," he told the Canadian Press. "If you can't see your guide, I don't see how that is a benefit. I think the basic theory of the rule is incorrect."

However, Williamson said officials were correct in enforcing the rule.

"If Bob and I didn't have to worry about the distance (between them) our result might have been different," said Williamson, who is completely blind in his right eye and has about six per cent vision in his left due to a degenerative eye disease.

The role of the guide is an important one. The guide skis ahead of his visually impaired partner, relaying advice on how to handle the terrain via two-way radios installed in the helmets of both skiers. The visually impaired skier notifies the guide each time he passes a gate so the guide can gauge how much space is between the teammates.

Joines matched the result of Canadian teammate Williamson by winning the bronze medal in Tuesday's women's sitting super-G.

Laurie Stephens of the United States cruised to the gold in a time of 1:19.16 – 3.06 seconds faster than silver-medal winner Kuniko Obinata of Japan and 3.48 seconds ahead of Joines, who is from Edmonton.

"I can't complain," Joines, who is competing in her first Paralympics and did not finish Sunday's downhill race, told the Canadian Press. "I would have been disappointed if I wasn't on the podium. "You have to be satisfied with that."

It was the second women's super-G medal in as many days for Canada. Lauren Woolstencroft of Victoria picked up a silver in the standing event on Monday.

Canada's alpine skiers have accounted for four of the country's six medals in Turin. Nordic skier Brian McKeever of Canmore, Alta., is the only non-alpine athlete to win medals for Canada.

On Tuesday McKeever captured bronze in the men's visually impaired 7.5 km biathlon. It was his second podium finish of the Games, coming after he won gold in Sunday's 5 km cross-country event.

In other alpine events on Tuesday, Sabine Gasteiger of Austria won the women's visually impaired super-G, with Anna Kuliskova of the Czech Republic taking silver and Silvia Parente of Italy bronze. No Canadians were entered.

Germany's Martin Braxenthaler won gold in the men's sitting super-G, while Austrians Harald Eder and Robert Froehle captured silver and bronze, respectively. Jeffery Penner of Kitchener, Ont., and Brad Lennea of Mission, B.C., finished 24th and 25, respectively, while Vancouver's Scott Patterson did not finish.

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