A plethora of medals, mounting emotions… the Beijing Paralympic Games, which just ended on Sunday, March 13, kept all their promises. For nine days, athletes from all over the world competed on Chinese snow in five disciplines (alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, wheelchair curing, sled hockey and snowboarding).
In the medal game, China – at home – won the most medals, causing the counter to explode. With 12 charms, France, fourth, should not be missing and could count on its spearhead Arthur Bauchet (four podiums including three titles) in alpine skiing to refuel. The Ukrainians, who were present in their country despite the war, won all their medals in cross-country skiing. As for the people who shone, the Canadian Brian McKeever, the Austrian Johannes Aigner or the American Kendall Gretsch stood out.
12 medals including 7 gold, the status quo of the Beijing Blues
When it comes to taking stock, the French Paralympic team fluctuates between contentment and regret. With twelve medals (7 gold, 3 silver and 2 bronze), the French delegation finished in fourth place in the medal standings. The Blues match their performance in 2018, where they also finished at the bottom of the podium, with the same number of titles, but slightly more charm overall (20 in Korea against 12 in China).
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympic Games) March 13, 2022
The French team was mainly carried by its standard-bearer Benjamin Daviet, titled in cross-country in the freestyle sprint and in biathlon in the individual; and by the young Arthur Bauchet (21 years old), three-time champion in alpine skiing (downhill, slalom and combined). Snowboarding was also on hand, with the coronations of Cécile Hernandez in cross country and Maxime Montaggioni in banked slalom. Small disappointments, on the other hand, for Hyacinthe Deleplace and Marie Bochet, who missed several of their alpine ski events.
Brian McKeever equals winter games title record
He is the legend of these Chinese Winter Games. By winning the mid-distance cross-country race on March 12, Canadian Brian McKeever won the 16th Paralympic gold medal of his career. A historic result that makes him the record held by ex-German skier Gerd Schönfelder, the most successful Paralympic athlete in history to date.
The 42-year-old athlete said goodbye to the Games with her compatriot Brittany Hudak in the 4 x 25 kilometer open relay. The Canadian duo finished in 6th place.
From a single medal to 61, China has become a Paralympic bogeyman
They probably wanted to look good at home. Chinese athletes have achieved great heights in these Paralympic Games, letting the guest delegation finish at the top of the medal table with 61 medals. An incredible jump from the only title obtained in curling four years ago from the Korean neighbor.
The Chinese delegation was first able to count on the number factor: they appeared at the start of these Games with a record of 96 registered athletes.
Austrian Johannes Aigner sets a date
Thrill of this Paralympic Games, Johannes Aigner impressed the alpine ski slopes in the visually impaired category. For his first Games, the 16-year-old Austrian was a hit in Beijing, winning five medals in as many events. Often with style: 5” ahead of second in giant slalom, victory downhill for his first race in the discipline. He will undoubtedly be one of the big favorites for the next Winter Paralympics, in Milan-Cortina d’Ampezzo in 2026.
Simply beautiful by Johannes Aigner!
— Paralympic Games (@Paralympic Games) March 10, 2022
Ukraine, 2nd in the ranking, devoured everything in cross-country skiing
Thousands of kilometers of his country at war, and although his participation was only confirmed at the last minute, the Ukrainian delegation in Beijing shone, like a symbol. With 29 medals and a 2nd place in the medal table, the Ukrainians achieved the best performance in their history at the Winter Paralympic Games. They had announced the suit from day one and won by less than seven charms.
All Ukrainian medals have been won in biathlon and cross-country events, with some resounding hat-tricks, in the men’s sprint in the visually impaired category, or in particular in the women’s standing distance.
The beautiful Kendall Gretsch story, in gold in Tokyo as in Beijing
Kendall Gretsch’s love affair with the Paralympic Games continues. Six months after being crowned in the triathlon at the Tokyo Summer Paralympics, the American won the seated biathlon in the middle distance (10 kilometers) on Tuesday, March 8. The Illinois athlete also won silver in the individual and bronze in the sprint.