Brian McKeever becomes Canada’s most decorated winter Paralympian

38-year-old visually impaired cross-country skier won the 20-kilometre event Monday in Pyeongchang

Brian McKeever has become the most decorated winter Paralympian in Canadian history.

The 38-year-old visually impaired cross-country skier won the 20-kilometre event Monday in Pyeongchang, for his 11th Paralympic gold medal and 14th overall.

McKeever passed alpine skier Lana Spreeman, who’d won 13 Paralympic medals.

McKeever, who carried Canada’s flag into Friday’s opening ceremonies, crossed in a time of 46 minutes 2.4 seconds with guides Graham Nishikawa and Russell Kennedy. The duo took turns guiding McKeever after each loop, a two-guide tactic the Canadian first implemented four years ago in Sochi.

Yury Holub was second in 47:07.5, while Thomas Clarion of France took the bronze in 47:24.4.

McKeever’s 11 gold medals surpassed wheelchair racers Chantal Petitclerc and swimmers Michael Edgson and Timothy McIsaac.

McKeever suffers from Stargardt’s disease, an inherited condition of macular degeneration that also claimed his father’s vision. He started to lose his eyesight at the age of 19. The disease has robbed him of his central vision, but he still has 100-per-cent peripheral vision – he likes to tell people he can see the donut, but not the Timbit.

The skier should add to his medal total in Pyeongchang, as the 20K was just the first of several events.

The Canadian Press

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