Paralympics

DISCOVERING GOLD

After a slow start, Canadian athletes find their top-of-the-podium form in Athens

JAMES DEACON October 4 2004
Paralympics

DISCOVERING GOLD

After a slow start, Canadian athletes find their top-of-the-podium form in Athens

JAMES DEACON October 4 2004

DISCOVERING GOLD

Paralympics

After a slow start, Canadian athletes find their top-of-the-podium form in Athens

JAMES DEACON

A LOT WAS expected of Kirby Cote at the Paralympic Games. The 20-year-old swimmer from Winnipeg arrived in Athens as one of Canada’s top medal hopes. But results don’t always follow expectations at major meets, so she was thrilled last week when her first races went according to plan. Going into the final weekend of the Games, she had captured four gold medals, including the women’s 100-m freestyle for the visually impaired in a personal best time of 1:01.74. And her top event, the 200-m individual medley, was still to come. “I’m just following all the strategies set out by my coach,” said Cote after the 100 free, “and it’s working out well.” With two days of competitions left, Canadians had won 40 medals,

including 15 gold, to sit in sixth place among 136 countries competing at the Games, well behind the front-running Chinese. Four of Canada’s gold medals came from swimmer Benoit Huot, 20, of St-Hubert, Que., who like Cote was entered in seven events. Fellow swimmers Anne Polinario, 25, of Toronto and Walter Wu, 32, of Richmond, B.C., took gold in the women’s 100 freestyle and men’s 400 freestyle for the visually impaired, respectively. On the track, meanwhile, Chantal Petitclerc of Montreal captured the women’s 100-, 800and 1,500-m wheelchair races for paraplegics. And Chelsea Clark of Mississauga, Ont., set a world record in winning the women’s 100-m sprint for athletes with cerebral palsy. I?il