Tag Archive | "Erik Carleton"

Canada’s McKeever and Carleton Stomp to Gold at IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships

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February 28, 2013 (Solleftea, Sweden) – Brian Mckeever and his guide Erik Carleton cranked out another gold medal at the IPC Nordic Skiing World Championships in Solleftea, Sweden on Wednesday.

Feeding off a hard-fought victory in the sprint race earlier in the week, the Canadian duo stomped the field in the men’s 20-kilometre skate-ski visually impaired race, capturing their second-straight World Championship title with a time of 51:18.9.

“We are still feeling jetlag a bit so we tried to pace things as best as we could today,” said the 33-year-old McKeever. “It was pretty warm with wet and variable snow conditions so we started conservatively, stayed in control, and were able to step on it when we had too.”

With many of the top Para-Nordic skiers in the world running out of gas for the finish, the dominant Canucks pulled away from the field, finishing nearly one minute ahead of the silver medallists.

Russia grabbed the next two spots on the podium. Nikolay Polukhin and his guide, Andrey Tokarev, clocked-in at 52:16.8. Sergei Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov skied to the bronze medal with a time of 52:52.7.

“All of the focus right now is setting us up for Sochi,” said McKeever. “We are just trying to be at our best because we know the Russians are not going to want to lose at home. We are doing everything we can so that we are well prepared this time next year.”

A winner of 10 medals in three trips to the Paralympics with his brother Robin as his guide, McKeever and his Calgary-based childhood friend, Erik Carleton, have been nearly perfect since teaming up with each other for the World Championships two years ago.

“I don’t think the guides get nearly as much recognition as they should,” said McKeever. “It is tough being the guide because you are out front and not skiing your own race. He needs to be out front and controlling the pace. When I need him to hold off he has too, and when I need him to increase the pace he needs to do that as well.

“There are lots of little things that make a great guide. Erik has learned so much in the last year and was great again for me today. It is definitely a team effort out there, and Erik needs a lot of credit for our success.”

The IPC Nordic World Ski Championships continue on Thursday in Sweden with the start of the biathlon competitions.

The IPC World Championships can be viewed on the IPC’s YouTube Channel at www.YouTube.com/ParalympicSportTV. Next up on Solleftea are the distance races on Tuesday.

For complete Canadian and IPC World Cup results, please click HERE.

McKeever and Carleton Strike Gold at IPC XC World Cup in Norway

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December 19, 2011 (Sjusjoen, Norway) – Canada’s Brian McKeever and Erik Carleton teamed up to win their first-ever IPC World Cup race together in a 10-kilometre classic-ski race in Sjusjoen Norway on Sunday.

The childhood ski friends growing up in Calgary, who won three silver medals in as many races this week, finally climbed onto the top step of the podium together after clocking the fastest time of the day at 27:38.2 in the men’s visually impaired category.

“We have been doing a lot of skate racing so it was nice to change the technique and get this one,” said the 32-year-old McKeever. “I think we still have a little advantage over some of the guys in classic racing. The key to winning is to exploit your strengths and others weaknesses and we did that today.”

The track to the podium was anything but easy for the Canadian duo. Battling fatigue from a long period of racing in Europe and blowing conditions, McKeever relied heavily on the 33-year-old Carleton to find the quickest line to the finish.

“Erik pulled really hard at the front in some pretty strong headwinds,” said McKeever. “He worked hard crossing between tracks to find the fastest line and did an awesome job for me today.”

The Canadians were sandwiched on the podium by two Russian teams. Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarev skied to the silver medal at 28:50.6, while Stanislav Chokhlaev and Maksim Pirogov were third with a time of 29:39.9.

McKeever has become of the most accomplished para-nordic skiers in the world since being diagnosed with Stargaards disease in 1998. Brian, along with his longtime guide and brother Robin, has won 10 Paralympic medals including seven gold in his three trips to the Paralympics.

Brian leaned on Carleton to guide him to three victories at the 2011 IPC World Championships when Robin was sidelined with an ACL injury last year. A 1998 Olympian, Robin is now the head coach of the Canadian Para-Nordic Team. Regardless of the guide, the younger McKeever has worked tirelessly to win everything on the table in para-nordic skiing.

“We have trained more than 800 hours this year which is right up there with able-bodied skiers,” said McKeever. “Winning isn’t easy as we saw this week (finishing second three times in a row) so we have to keep working hard because it hasn’t been enough so far.”

Two other Canadians also suited up on Sunday. Colette Bourgonje, of Saskatoon, finished seventh in the women’s five-kilometre sit-ski race. Mark Arendz, of Springton, P.E.I., who won a gold, silver and bronze medal in biathlon races this week, finished 11th in the men’s 10-kilometre standing class.

2011/12 Canadian XC Ski Teams and Coaching Staff Announced

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May 03, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Cross Country Canada has released its 2011/2012 season National Team and coaching staff roster on the heels of a record-breaking 2010/2011 campaign, which saw Canadian skiers achieve World Cup and World Championship medals. Look for the following list of racers to be making history on the snow next season and for years to come.

Senior World Cup Team
Head Coach: Justin Wadsworth
Coaches: Eric de Nys, Louis Bouchard
– Ivan Babikov – Foothills Nordic Ski Club, AB
– Chandra Crawford – Canmore Nordic Ski Club, AB
– Dasha Gaiazova – Rocky Mountain Racers, QC
– Alex Harvey – Club Nordique Mont Ste. Anne, QC
– Perianne Jones – Nakkertok Ski Club, ON
– Devon Kershaw – Ona Wa Su, ON
– Len Valjas – Team Hardwood, ON

Senior Development Team
Coaches: Louis Bouchard (CNEPH), Mike Cavaliere (AWCA), Eric Bailey (NDC-TB)
– Jess Cockney – Foothills Nordic/AWCA, AB
– Drew Goldsack – Rocky Mountain Racers/AWCA, AB
– Graeme Killick – Banff Ski Runners/AWCA, AB
– Alysson Marshall – Larch Hills/AWCA, BC
– Brent McMurtry – Foothills Nordic/CNEPH, AB
– Emily Nishikawa – Whitehorse/AWCA, YK
– Graham Nishikawa – Whitehorse/AWCA, YK
– Kevin Sandau – Foothills Nordic/AWCA, AB
– Michael Somppi – Lappe/Thunder Bay NDC, ON
– Frédéric Touchette – Club Nordique Mont Ste. Anne, QC

Junior Team
– Dahria Beatty – Whitehorse, YT
– Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt – Club de ski de fond Fondeurs-Laurentides/CVTC, QC
– Raphael Couturier – Commission de ski Nordique Skibec/CNEPH, QC
– Janelle Greer – Whitehorse/AWCA, YT
– Zach Holland – Banff Ski Runners/AWCA, AB
– Knute Johnsgaard – Whitehorse/CNEPH, YT
– Maya Macissac-Jones – Rocky Mountain Racers, AB
– Alex Mahoney – Rocky Mountain Ski Racers, AB
– Camille Pepin – Club Nordique M.S.A., QC
– Rebecca Reid – Black Jack Nordic/AWCA, BC
– Geoffrey Richards – Black Jack Nordic/CVTC, BC
– Martin Schrama – Banff Ski Runners/CVTC, AB
– Sébastien Townsend – Club Nakkertok Nordique, QC
– Alexis Turgeon – Club de ski de fond Skinouk, QC
– Michelle Workun-Hill – Club Nakkertok Nordique, QC

Para-Nordic World Cup Team
Head Coach: Robin McKeever
– Mark Arendz – Foothills Nordic, AB
– Jody Barber – Bulkley Valley Ski Club, BC
– Colette Bourgonje – Snobuddy Ski Club, SK
– Chris Klebl – Lifesport, AB
– Brian McKeever – Foothills Nordic Ski Club, AB
– Robin McKeever (guide) – Foothills Nordic Ski Club, AB
– Erik Carleton (guide) – Rocky Mountain Racers, AB

Para-Nordic Development Team
Coaches: Pierre Pomerleau, Robin McKeever
– Sébastien Fortier, Skibec/Hus-ski, QC

** National Development Centre teams will be announced when all information is available**

Canadians Sprint to Gold and Silver at IPC Worlds

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April 08, 2011 (Khanty Mansiysk, Russia) – The Canadian Para-Nordic Ski Team continued its podium surge at the IPC Cross-Country Skiing World Championships adding another gold and silver medal in the men’s sprint races on Friday in Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.

Brian McKeever, of Canmore, Alta., and his new guide Erik Carleton, of Calgary, continued their dominance of the men’s visually impaired category by handily winning the sprint event. A 10-time Paralympic medallist, McKeever posted the fastest qualifying time and rolled through the head-to-head heats until the final where he was matched up against two strong Russian teams.

With skiers provided a time advantage off the line based on their level of disability, it becomes a game of cat and mouse for McKeever who is forced to hunt down the other athletes on the sprint loop as the fastest skiers start well back. McKeever caught the three teams in front of him just prior to the finishing stretch where he pulled away to win by four seconds.

“The stress of para-nordic sprint racing for me is not whether or not we are faster than other skiers, but whether we can pass three other competitors and their guides,” said McKeever who executed his tactics perfectly with Carleton leading the way. “The course is tight, narrow and the conditions were difficult today so I’m happy we were able to do that. Erik is skiing great and things are going really well.”

McKeever and Carleton were sandwiched on the podium by two Russian teams. Nikolay Polukhin and Andrey Tokarev captured the silver medal, while Alexei Toropov and his guide, Sergey Maksimov, sprinted to the bronze-medal position on the podium.

The track to the podium continued for the Canadians in the men’s sit-ski race where Chris Klebl powered his way to the silver medal.

Klebl, who resides in Canmore, Alta. followed up his historic sit-ski race on Wednesday when he won the nation’s first-ever gold medal in the distance event, with a silver medal in a hard-fought sprint competition Friday.

The two-time Paralympian qualified for the final despite breaking a pole in the semi-finals, which forced him to ski with one pole. Klebl accomplished the feat and punched his ticket into the final by edging out the French skier in a photo finish.

Klebl managed to stay out of trouble in the final where two Russian skiers got tangled up at the beginning of the .9-kilometre loop to win the silver medal.

Norway’s Trygve Steinar Larsen won the gold medal, while Russia’s Irek Zaripov won the battle for the bronze.

Saskatoon’s Colette Bourgonje was the only other Canadian to suit up on Friday. Bourgonje, who won the gold in the women’s sit-ski race on Wednesday, qualified for the heats, but her quest for the podium came to an end when she finished fourth in her semi-final.

Canada has teamed up to win five gold medals and one silver at the 2011 IPC World Championships.

Results HERE.

McKeever Recruits Childhood Ski Friend Carleton for at IPC Nordic Worlds

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March 22, 2011 (Canmore, AB) – Brian McKeever will lean on childhood ski friend, Erik Carleton, to guide him to the top of the podium at the IPC Cross-Country Skiing and Biathlon World Championships in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, March 30 to April 10, Cross Country Canada announced today.

With Robin McKeever, who has guided Brian to 10 Paralympic medals including seven gold and three at the 2010 Games in Vancouver-Whistler, forced to the sidelines with a torn ACL, the legendary brother tandem tapped on the shoulder of the 33-year-old Carleton to carry the torch and lead the visually-impaired Brian in the cross-country skiing events at the 2011 World Championships.

“I was surprised and shocked when the McKeevers first asked me, but this is a great opportunity for me and one that I could never turn down,” said Carleton. “It is an honour to race with Brian. He and Robin have done so much for Para-Nordic sport, and I just hope to do whatever I can tohelp continue to build on what they have already accomplished.”

While Robin will return to guide his brother along the road to the 2014 Games, the elder McKeever was also named coach of Canada’s Para-Nordic Team this fall.

“Erik is a very talented, and dedicated athlete and a great friend who I know will do everything he can to ensure we have the opportunity to hear the Canadian anthem being played at the World Championships,” said Brian McKeever who has never worked with another guide other than his older brother since he began competing in Para-Nordic skiing prior to the 2002 Paralympics. “This is obviously a new beginning, but our goals will not change. We are focused on gold, and I’m excited to be heading to Russia knowing I have a great friend and hard-working athlete guiding me to the podium.”

Carleton and the younger McKeever are longtime friends who were introduced to skiing at the same time when they signed up at the same time for a Jackrabbit ski program in Calgary. The two began racing together at the age of 13, and the friends became roommates when they moved to Canmore after eventually qualifying for the National Development Team.

While McKeever’s accomplishments are well documented having won everything on the table in Para-Nordic sport including earning a spot on Canada’s 2010 Olympic Team, Carleton has had numerous top-10’s as recently as this season while mucking it out on the Haywood NorAm Series throughout hiscareer. A part-time database administrator with a degree in computer science from the University of Calgary, Carleton’s best results as a senior racer came at the 2000 National Championships when he won two bronze medals.

“This is a new experience for me racing internationally so I’m nervous about maintaining my form through the travel and time zone changes, but I am also extremely excited,” said Carleton. “Brian and Robin are connected in a way that I will never be able to replace, but I am confident I can ski a pace that will help Brian perform at his best and reach his goals.”

The newly-formed McKeever-Carleton duo will lead a high-powered Canadian contingent into the showcase event on the 2011 IPC calendar. The Canadian squad will include a group of six athletes who have combined to win medals at the Paralympics, World Championships or World Cups.

Six-time Paralympic medallist, Colette Bourgonje will be the lone athlete entered in the women’s sit-ski category. Saskatoon’s Bourgonje, who has competed in six Paralympics in both winter and summer sport, captured a silver and bronze medal at the Vancouver-Whistler Paralympics. Chris Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., who sits fourth overall in the men’s sitting class, has a World Cup bronze medal to his credit this year.

Rising young star, Mark Arendz of Springton, P.E.I., who has enjoyed a dream season in 2011 where he finished second overall in the IPC Biathlon World Cup standings in the men’s standing division will be gunning for his first World Championship medal. With a goal of following the legendary path set by Brian McKeever, the 21-year-old Paralympian shocked the world by winning three gold medals, two silver and two bronze medals this year.

Jody Barber, of Smithers, B.C., who has five IPC World Cup medals to her credit, rounds out the Canadian squad. Barber, who is a 2010 Paralympian and also an accomplished Para-Triathlete where she won a bronze medal for Canada at the 2010 Triathlon World Championships, will compete in the women’s standing category in cross-country skiing.

The Canadian contingent will depart for the IPC World Championships on March 23 where they will take part in a training camp prior to the weeklong competition, which kicks off March 30, 2011.

33rd Gatineau Loppet Wraps Up with an Electrifying Finish

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February 21, 2011 (Gatineau, QC) – Close to 700 skiers showed up on Sunday morning for the 51km and the 28km freestyles. Unlike yesterday’s mass start, Sunday’s took place under a magnificent blue sky and bathed in brilliant sunshine. The winds had slowed and the temperature was a crisp 16 below.

Canadians Sweep 28K Freestyle Podium
Sean Thompson from St-Bruno had good reason to be proud as he took the first place spot on the podium for the second time in two days, this one with a time of 1:08:30.6, and yesterday’s victory being for his win of the 28 km classic. For a second consecutive day, Sacha Desfossés from Prévost finished in second place, but with a better time of 1:11:49.9. He was followed one one-hundreth of a second later by Julien Lamoureux from Sainte-Julie, who took third place with a time of 1:11:50.0.

In the women’s category, Ottawa’s Adele Lay won the top spot with a time of 1:17:51.4. Kate Crawford from Essex Junction, U.S.A. earned the silver medal with 1:20:42.5. Montréal’s Annie Chénard took home the bronze, with a time of 1:24:35.1.

Electrifying Finish in the Men’s 51K
Spectators at the finish line were treated to a phenomenal finale, as the five skiers finished in a space of only 7 seconds. Ottawa’s Aidan Lennie was in the lead with a time of 2:07:52.1, for which he won the $1,200 purse. Eli Enman, from Huntington, U.S.A. was two seconds behind, with a time of 2:07:54.0, which earned him the silver medal. One second later Canmore’s Erik Carleton secured the third spot on the podium and a swig of champagne for his 2:07:54.9. These three skiers were only slightly ahead of Marc-André Bédard from Valcartier, who made it in 2:07:55.0, and Karl Saidla, a member of the event’s board of directors, who came in fifth with 2:07:59.1.

Kamila Borutova from the Czech Republic made it to the top step on the podium for the women’s race with 2:25:04.2. This win was doubly sweet after her previous day’s gold for the 28 km classic style. Calgary’s Eva Szabo, who had finished 3rd in 2009, took 2:27:13.2 to earn the silver medal. Ottawa’s Sheila Kealy, who won the 53 km classic style in 2010, was exactly 2 seconds behind, with an impressive last-minute sprint, bringing her time to 2:27:15.2.

Dazzling Performance by Young Skiers in the 10K
The 10 km is always good for some fancy footwork by local young skiers. This was once again the case, with 5 of the 6 steps of the podium going to local skiers.

In the women’s category, Gatineau’s Noémi Bérubé, who had come second in this same race in 2009, slid to victory with a time of 27:28.3. Claudia Cameron, from Metcalfe, finished in 28:43.1, followed by Emma Underwood from Kattskill Bay in the U.S.A., who only yesterday had won the 5 km classic.

Among the boys, the first two places went to Gatineau residents Xavier Bouchard (23:46.6) and Dominique Mancions-Groulx (23:47.0). Third place went to Ottawa’s Benjamin Wlkinson-Zan (23:48.8).

The Mini
Close to 200 children, accompanied by their parents, showed up for this 2 km race, which we remind you is not timed. These young athletes in the making proudly crossed the finish line to the applause of their emotional fans. Inflatable structures, cookies and drinks awaited them. Gatineau’s 11 year-old Stéphanie Girard was the first to poke through the finish line, followed by 10 year-old Wade Clemenhagen, of the Chelsea Nordiq club. A big high five to them all!

A New Course?
Throughout the three days of the event, skiers were invited to fill out a survey to indicate their interest in a point A to point B event instead of the current loop. The feedback was very positive, and it will probably take a while to analyze the results. There are some obstacles, particularly in regard to funding and organization, but the skiers’ responses were enough to urge us on.

An International Event
With 22 participating countries, clearly the Gatineau Loppet is an international event. Several embassies wanted to mark the presence of participants from their countries. Thus, the 16 km starting signal was given by Sweden’s Ambassador, His Excellency Teppo Tauriainen. The 5 km was kicked off jointly by His Excellency Karel Žebrakovský, Ambassador of the Czech Republic, and the Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Estonia, Riho Kruuv. The First Secretary of the Embassy of Switzerland, Bernadette Hurschler, handed the prizes to the winners of the 16 km and chocolates to all of the participants in this race. Robert Moulié, representative of the Embassy of France, was also at the Worldloppet cocktail, which celebrates our international participants. Special treats for the evening were arranged by the Embassy of Estonia, which provided beer samples, and the Embassy of Sweden, which offered blueberry soup, the customary refreshment at their feeding stations. Talk about getting a taste for exploring the world!

“In this first year as President, I had the privilege of seeing the incredible work done by the beautiful big Gatineau Loppet team. I am particularly proud to see that none of these people shy away from a challenge, and that “success” is their single currency. All of this came through very clearly at this 33rd edition,” indicated President Yan Michaud.

The organizers of the Gatineau Loppet would like to thank the 2,153 local and visiting skiers and the thousands of spectators who made this 33rd edition a resounding success right down the line. A special greeting to the 3 year-old, who was the youngest, and the 84 year-old, the event’s venerable patriarch.

Congratulations to all of the skiers. We hope to see you again next year for the 34th edition, from February 17 to 19, 2012.