March 20, 2010
Woolstencroft wins record
five gold medals
Canadian skier Lauren Woolstencroft won a fifth
gold medal at the 2010 Paralympic Games becoming the first ever
winter paralympian to top the podium five consecutive times in
a single Games.
Woolstencroft, who competes in the standing category,
finished the second run of the women's super combined event with
a time of 2:22:67. Teammate Karolina Wisniewska secured the bronze
"It's still setting in,'' said the 28-year-old
from North Vancouver. "It's way more than my expectations.''
Woolstencroft joins wheelchair racer Chantal Petitclerc
and swimmer Stephanie Dixon as the only Canadian Paralympic athletes
to have won five gold medals at any single Paralympic Games, winter
"It means a lot,'' said Woolstencroft. "That
was never my target. I'm not a big record person. I don't think
"It's more about pushing myself and being competitive
in the alpine world. But to be among those athletes is a huge
accomplishment. It's certainly something I had never thought about
until it was mentioned here. It's pretty cool.''
An engineer from Calgary who now lives in Vancouver, Woolstencroft
has long dominated Paralympic skiing.
She won 23 World Cup races between 2006 and 2008.
On the World Cup circuit, the 28-year-old captured 2008 and 2009
Crystal Globes as season-long overall champion, six more globes
for individual events and this season won three of her first four
World Cup races.
At the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, Woolstencroft
won the downhill, Super-G, giant slalom and slalom before claiming
her fifth gold medal.
"I think the biggest challenge is just repeating
day after day,'' she said. "I'm mentally fried. People are
yelling at me and I don't even hear them.
"Today I had to have one focus and that was
the race. I had great confidence coming in. I was super-prepared.
I knew I had the potential but you never it's going to be that
While Woolstencroft's 2010 medal haul includes only gold, other
competitors have also tallied five medals.
On Saturday, teammate Viviane Forest won her fifth
medal - a silver - in the women's super combined.
"I'm pretty exhausted,'' said Forest, 30. "We
dug deep. I'm so pleased.
"I don't really have words right now. I think
it will take a little while. When I'm sitting at home I can say
'I did it.'''
Nikolai Polukhin of Russia won his fifth medal in the men's cross-country
relay and Gerd Schonfelder of Germany captured his fifth in the
men's super combined.
Two other athletes will have a chance to win their
fifth gold medal on Sunday - Zaripov of Russia and Verena Bentele
Born with no legs below the knee and no arm below
the left elbow, Woolstencroft uses prostheses for her lower limbs
and a prosthetic left arm. In her right hand, she uses a ski pole
to help her navigate the course.
Following Saturday's races, Forest, who competes
in the visually impaired category, fulfilled her goal of being
on the podium for every event she entered.
She also became the first woman to win gold at both the Summer
and Winter Paralympic Games.
Forest won gold in the Summer Paralympic sport of Goalball in
2000 and 2004. She completes the 2010 Games with one gold medal,
three silver and one bronze.
On the men's side, Canadian Chris Williamson placed fourth in
the men's super combined in the visually impaired category.