Austria’s Carina Edlinger took home the gold in the women’s Para Cross-Country sprint vision impaired at the Winter Paralympics in Beijing, China today (March 9).
At the same time, exciting semi-final match-ups were decided in Para Ice Hockey.
In wheelchair curling, China moved to the top of the standings with one more day of round-robin play to go, joining Sweden, the surprise of the tournament.
Edlinger overcame a less-than-ideal build-up to Beijing 2022 – which saw her finish out of the medals at January’s World Championships – to top the podium with guide Josef Lorenz Lampl.
STRUGGLED WITH HEALTH
Finishing nearly seven seconds ahead of Ukraine’s Oksana Shyshkova, 2019 world title winner Edlinger cast off the heartbreak of a fourth place finish from PyeongChang 2018.
Edlinger has struggled with her health and did not finish Sunday’s long distance, as well as having to adapt to new guide Lampl who came on board just 10 days ago, making the win even more impressive.
“I still can’t believe that. Four years ago I had similar problems that I’ve had now, with my legs, and I collapsed multiple times here and right before the journey here.
“It was a difficult situation because a few days ago I was completely paralysed below the neck, lying on the wax cabin floor. That was one of the lowest points I’ve had in my sport life.
“With two times not finishing that was more than frustrating because I knew what I can do. But today, winning gold like this, is freaking amazing.
“I knew I came here as one of the big favourites and it’s a big relief to win here today. And to win together [with Lampl] it’s even more nice, to share the thing.
“My ambition was always that if I can’t win the skating sprint, I should retire. So it’s better that I win that one, it’s just amazing.”
Shyshkova’s silver is her second medal from the Para Cross-Country this week with guide Andriy Marchenko. Germany’s Linn Kazmeier, guided by Florian Baumann, also doubled-up her medal haul with bronze.