Salmon Arm athlete wins 2nd gold medal of 2022 Beijing Paralympics

A B.C. cross-country skier is proving difficult to beat at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in Beijing.

In Day 5 action, Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm captured her second gold medal this week, and fifth career Paralympic medal, in the women’s sprint standing (free) race.

Wilkie won with a time of 4:05.1, three seconds quicker than Norway’s Vilde Nilsen, who took silver. Sydney Peterson of the U.S. won bronze, seven seconds back of Wilkie.

Wilkie, 21, also won the women’s standing 15-kilometre cross-country race on Monday.

Wilkie was a high-performance junior cross-country in high school. And in 2016, following a workshop accident where she lost four fingers on her left hand, she was invited to Canada’s para-nordic program.

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In December 2017, at her first World Cup event, she posted three fourth-place finishes, which qualified her for the national team for the 2018 Paralympics.

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And at those Paralympics, Wilkie won three medals: Gold in 7.5 km cross-country; silver in the 4×2.5-km cross-country relay race; and bronze in sprint cross-country.

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At 17, she was also Canada’s youngest athlete at the 2018 Paralympics.

More para cross-country skiing events are scheduled for Days 8 and 9, the last two days of the Games.

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