Canadians Mark Arendz and Collin Cameron Snipe Silver and Bronze in Paralympic Biathlon

    March 10, 2018

    PYEONGCHANG, Kor.—Mark Arendz celebrated his third career Paralympic biathlon medal, while Collin Cameron fired his name into the history books as the first Canadian male to reach the Paralympic podium in the sit-ski classification on Saturday to kick off the 10-day sporting spectacle in PyeongChang, Korea.
     
    The 28-year-old Arendz put together his best day of skiing and shooting this year to match his silver-medal triumph in the 7.5-kilometre Paralympic biathlon event four years ago. The three-time Paralympian from Hartsville, P.E.I. clocked a second-place time of 18:25.9 in the men’s standing category.
     
    “Coming across the line I thought I had hit. I’m really happy with the day. It was an awesome race for me, but someone was just a little faster,” said Arendz, who unleashed a scream after crossing the finish line.
     
    “I grew up on a little farm in Prince Edward Island, and here I am now as a three-time Paralympic medallist. I guess I’m proof if you dream big and set your mind to something, amazing things can happen regardless of where you are from.”
     
    With a biathlon silver and bronze on his resume from Sochi – not to mention a trophy case full of medals and overall podium finishes on the Para-Nordic World Cup circuit over the last decade, the lanky Canuck was driven throughout the three-lap race – powering up the punishing hills and through the soft snow covering the 2.5-kilometre loop at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre.
     
    “I wanted to come out of this race with something around my neck – that was success for me today,” added Arendz. “But I also wanted to get my feet under me for the rest of the Games and set the bar.”
     
    Arendz took advantage of fast skis and clean shooting in his two trips to the range to lock up the silver medal.
     
    “I got into a little trouble in my second bout (of shooting), but I was able to overcome that little adversity. It just took me a little longer than I wanted. I got out of it clean. This is an awesome start, which is important for me for the rest of the Games.”
     
    Arendz finished 29 seconds behind his top rival, Benjamin Daviet, who was also clean in shooting. The Frenchman was crowned Paralympic champion with a time of 17:56.6. Ihor Reptyukh, of the Ukraine, skied to the bronze medal with a time of 18:40.9 (0+1).
     
    “I got to the venue and saw Collin’s (Cameron) name at the top of the standings in his final lap of the sit-ski race. I cheered him on up his final hill and I took a lot of energy from watching him win his first ever Paralympic medal this morning,” added Arendz.
     
    The 29-year-old Cameron sent a shot of adrenalin through the entire Canadian Para-Nordic team ranks in the morning when he captured the first biathlon medal in his three-year career.
     
    The former sledge hockey player from Sudbury, Ont. etched his name into the history books as the first Canadian male ever to reach the Paralympic biathlon podium in the sit-ski classification with a thrilling   bronze-medal finish in his 7.5-kilometre race, posting a time of 23:59.0.
     
    “This is crazy. I didn’t expect this today,” laughed Cameron. “I felt really great getting down on the matt (shooting) and was in position every time. It got me on the podium today, and it is absolutely crazy.”
     
    Cameron was flirting with the leaders in a nail-biter of a race while heading into the range for the final time.
     
    “When I was coming into the range for the second time, I missed that first shot. I took a breadth and got the rest – then I just went for it. Coming up that final hill, the whole team was just screaming at me and I went as hard as I could.”
     
    Cameron finished just 9.3 seconds behind the golden pace set by American Daniel Cnossen who clocked-in at 23:49.7 (0+1). He was just 2.4 seconds behind the silver-medallist from Belarus – Dzmitry Loban who finished at 23:57.0 (1+0).
     
    “Everything came together today, and I don’t know why. I think just the build up through the season. I was progressively getting snappier and faster, and all the work John spent with me in Sudbury. We focused on race procedure and that paid dividends today. It is such a fun course here.”
     
    He certainly has had his share of fun in Korea.
     
    The first of his two podium finishes on the IPC World Cup also came in PyeongChang one year ago when he won a cross-country skiing sprint race. His only other international podium came earlier this year – also in a cross-country skiing sprint race – when he claimed the bronze in Germany.
     
    “I always considered cross country skiing my priority, but biathlon is a lot of fun too. I love the aspect of having two different races. It is a lot of fun and I like the challenge,” added Cameron, who is one of the most respected athletes on the international race scene. “I just hope the entire team can take some of this awesome momentum we are building for the rest of the week.”
     
    The only other Canadian men to medal in Paralympic biathlon are Brian and Robin McKeever. The brother tandem won a bronze medal in the visually impaired 7.5-kilometre sprint discipline at the 2006 Paralympics in Turin, Italy. Robin McKeever is currently the head coach of Canada’s Para-Nordic squad.
     
    Two Canadians also hit the start line for the women’s 6-kilometre standing race. North Vancouver’s Emily Young finished seventh at 19:08.2 (0+1), while Brittany Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., placed eighth with a time of 19:22.6 (1+1).
     
    Neutral Paralympic Athlete, Ekaterina Rumyantseva won the classification with a time of 17:06.1 despite missing one shot.
     
    Complete Biathlon Results: http://bit.ly/2oXxrq7
     
    The cross-country sit-skiing races are slated for Sunday.

    CCC is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 60,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities Inc., AltaGas, Mackenzie Investments, Swix and Lanctôt Sports– along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.