Top-12 finishes for Whistler riders in Sochi

Whistler – March 18, 2014


Leslie, Mosher earn solid finishes in Paralympic debut of snowboarding

Whistler riders Tyler Mosher and John Leslie both posted top-12 results to lead the Canadian team in Sochi when snowboarding made an impressive Paralympic debut last week.

Leslie finished seventh and Mosher placed 12th in the men’s race held Friday (March 14). Rossland’s Ian Lockey finished 21st in the men’s event, while Calgary’s Michelle Salt, the lone Canadian woman competing, placed ninth in her race.

Both Leslie and Mosher ended up using their final two of three runs to calculate their overall times. In para-snowboarding, racers throw away their slowest of three trips down a snowboard-cross style course.

Leslie finished with a combined time of one minute, 51.88 seconds, posting the fourth-quickest final run of the day. The Arnprior, Ont. native, who had his leg amputated following a childhood cancer diagnosis, ended up less than five seconds back of the medal winners.

“The experience was amazing,” the 21-year-old said in a release. “Couldn’t have asked for a better way to end things. I was very happy with the way I rode and the way everything worked out.”

Mosher finished with a time of 1:59.80. The 2009 para-snowboard world champion, an incomplete paraplegic, was among the top finishers who were riding with limited limb mobility.

“It’s great to be part of the first-ever winter Paralympic Games with snowboarding after 10 years of hard work developing the sport,” said Mosher, 41. “I wish I raced better, but I did my best given the race course design and conditions. I look forward to getting back to Canada, doing nationals and getting back to work.”

The American team swept the men’s podium, with Evan Strong, Michael Shea and Keith Gabel finishing one-two-three.

Hallat posts best-ever Paralympic result

Sea to Sky standing skier Matt Hallat earned his best finish at a Paralympic Games last week when he placed sixth in the men’s slalom race at Sochi’s Rosa Khutor Alpine Center.

The three-time Paralympian had never posted a top-10 result at the Games in his two prior trips, but Hallat laid down two impressive runs on Thursday (March 13) to finish among the leaders.

The 30-year-old ranked fifth after the first of two runs on Thursday, then skied a solid second run, but fell back one position. The right-leg amputee clocked a two-run time that was three seconds back of the podium, and placed him as the third-fastest skier in the LW2 class.

Hallat was unable to finish in his other two races from Sochi, skiing off course in the downhill and super combined.

Whistler resident Caleb Brousseau, who captured a bronze medal in the men’s sitting super-G earlier in the Games, did not finish any of his races after reaching the podium, taking a DNF in the combined, slalom and giant slalom.

The para-alpine team contributed eight of Canada’s 16 Paralympic medals in Sochi, led by sit skier Josh Dueck. The two-time Paralympian captured gold in the men’s super combined and silver in downhill, and was named Canada’s flag bearer for the closing ceremonies.

Mac Marcoux ended up with three medals in men’s visually impaired races, including a gold in GS and bronze in both super-G and downhill. Kimberly Joines won a women’s sit ski slalom bronze, while team veteran Chris Williamson collected bronze in the men’s visually impaired slalom.

With 80 medals, the host Russians dominated the Games. Their 30 gold medals were more than any other country’s full medal count. Ukraine was second on total medals with 25; Germany ranked second in golds with nine.

Canada had the fourth-highest medal total with 16, and its seven golds ranked third.

© Whistler Question 2014