Chasing history - Brian McKeever wins 15th career gold medal in men’s Para cross-country sprint

His legendary medal total rises to 19 during his decorated career. With one race remaining he goes for a gold record total in his final Paralympics

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Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games - Para Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Sprint Free Technique Vision Impaired Final - National Biathlon Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - March 9, 2022. Gold medallist Brian McKeever of Canada with guide Russell Kennedy of Canada and Bronze medallist Zebastian Modin of Sweden with guide Emil Joensson of Sweden celebrate during the flower ceremony. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games - Para Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Sprint Free Technique Vision Impaired Final - National Biathlon Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - March 9, 2022. Gold medallist Brian McKeever of Canada with guide Russell Kennedy of Canada and Bronze medallist Zebastian Modin of Sweden with guide Emil Joensson of Sweden celebrate during the flower ceremony. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Brian McKeever of Canada continued his remarkable performance in the 2022 Beijing Paralympics on Wednesday, winning a gold medal in the men’s visually impaired cross-country event.

It was the 19th career Paralympic medal for McKeever, his 15th gold spanning six Games, dating back to Salt Lake City 2002.

The 45-year-old from Canmore, Alta., finished the race in three minutes 19.5 seconds, 0.8 seconds faster than second-place finisher Jake Adicoff of the United States.

“This is the race that is hardest for us to win. My least favorite race,” McKeever said. “I said yesterday that I think I would rather race a 220-kilometre in Sweden next month than do another sprint, but here we are. It was fun.”

Silver medalist Adicoff maintained a lead over McKeever the last couple of kilometers, and it looked like he might be able to pull away from the competition, but it the end it was the veteran McKeever who had just enough left to pull out the victory.

“We knew we had to get to the front before the last finishing straight so we could pick the line we wanted,” he said. “There’s definitely one faster lane there than the rest because of the shadows.”

Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games - Para Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Sprint Free Technique Vision Impaired Final - National Biathlon Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - March 9, 2022. Gold medallist Brian McKeever of Canada celebrates with Bronze medallist Zebastian Modin of Sweden after competing. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games - Para Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Sprint Free Technique Vision Impaired Final - National Biathlon Centre, Zhangjiakou, China - March 9, 2022. Gold medallist Brian McKeever of Canada celebrates with Bronze medallist Zebastian Modin of Sweden after competing. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

“I’m not able to start very fast at my age, so I really have to build into it. We talked about that and tried to build through the whole race.”

Gerd Schönfelder of Germany has the most gold medals by a male Winter Paralympian (16), and with one more chance to win gold, McKeever says he doesn’t even pay attention to the records.

“I’ve never thought about any of them, so I will continue to not think about them and just keep going one race at a time and trying to enjoy this,” he said.

McKeever’s chance at history will come on Saturday in the sprint event.