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Canadian Trail: Skiers race to the podium in Sochi

CBC

Team Canada had plenty of reasons to celebrate on Saturday as the first day of competition at the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi came to a close.

The Para-alpine ski team made sure Canada didn’t have to wait long to collect its first medal, as Mac Marcoux of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., won bronze in the men’s visually impaired downhill competition on Saturday morning.

Josh Dueck, a native of Kimberley, B.C., captured Canada’s first silver medal a short time later in the men’s sitting downhill race.

Canada’s third and final medal of the day came courtesy of biathlete Mark Arendz. The 23-year-old from Hartsville, P.E.I., grabbed the bronze in the men’s 7.5 km standing biathlon.

Day 1 also saw the Canadian wheelchair curling and sledge hockey teams hit the ice for their opening matches.

The curling foursome, consisting of Sonja Gaudet, Dennis Thiessen, Ina Forrest and skip Jim Armstrong, came from behind to beat Great Britain 6-3 in the opening session. They then recorded a nail-biting 5-4 win over Russia in afternoon play, during which newcomer alternate Mark Ideson played for Gaudet. Canada will face arch-rival Sweden in Draw 4 tomorrow (streaming live on cbc.ca/paralympics at.7:30 a.m. ET.)

The new-look sledge hockey squad, featuring nine rookies, began its quest for a Canadian Olympic/Paralympic hockey gold medal trifecta with a 10-1 annihilation of Sweden. Canada takes on Norway tomorrow.

Elsewhere along the Trail:

Edmonton’s Kirk Schornstein and Victoria’s Braydon Luscombe competed in the men’s standing downhill event, but did not finish.

Kurt Oatway, of Calgary, Alta., and Caleb Brousseau, of Terrace, B.C., finished fifth and sixth, respectively, in the men’s sit-ski downhill event.

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