Golden goodbye: Canada's Brian McKeever victorious in final individual Paralympic race_laser freckle removal on lips

Golden goodbye: Canada's Brian McKeever victorious in final individual Paralympic raceCanada's Brian McKeever is going out on top. The 42-year-old won his final individual Paralympic race on Saturday in Beijing, taking the gold medal in the men's visually impaired middle-distance cross-country event.

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Cross-country skier collects 16th career gold medal with middle-distance win

Myles Dichter · CBC Sports(Issei Kato/Reuters)

Canada's Brian McKeever is going out on top.

The 42-year-old won his final individual Paralympic race on Saturday in Beijing, taking the gold medal in the men's visually impaired middle-distance cross-country event.

McKeever announced before Beijing 2022 that he was planning to retire following these Games.

His latest podium appearance is the 20th of his career, and his 16th gold — moving him into a tie for most titles won by a male winter Paralympian with German alpine skier Gerd Schoenfelder.

"I think it was because they gave me the right bib today," McKeever, who wore bib No. 16, said laughing.

Led by guide Graham Nishikawa, the Canmore, Alta., native posted a winning time of 33 minutes 6.6 seconds, well ahead of Sweden's silver medallist Zebastian Modin (33:59.1) and bronze medallist Dmytro Suiarko of Ukraine (34:08.1).

WATCH | McKeever races to gold:

Brian McKeever claims gold in last solo Paralympic race

21 hours agoDuration 3:56Cross-country skier Brian McKeever from Canmore, Alta., wins his 16th Paralympic gold medal and 20th overall with a victory in the men's visually impaired middle-distance cross-country event.(Issei Kato/Reuters)

While it was his final individual race, McKeever, who competes in the least severe classification of the visually impaired category, will be back on his skis for one final event in the team relay on Sunday.

McKeever's accomplishments are astonishing, but he told CBC Sports in a recent interview that it's the work and training he's put into sport since his Paralympic debut in 2002 that he cherishes most.

"The motivation's always come from within. It's always been about trying to push myself to be just a little bit better each year than I was the last and experiment with the training, and that's what I like to do," McKeever said.
  • For retiring Paralympic great McKeever, the work proves more rewarding than his 19 medals
  • 'It's meant everything': Role of guides for Paralympic athletes goes beyond field of play

Asked if he may be tempted to come back for Italy 2026, McKeever spoke about how the injuries that have piled up thoughout the years would make that dificult.

"We're breaking down. We still love getting out together but it's getting harder. I think if we end up back here trying to race in four years, we'll be coming in on canes," McKeever said.

Still, he didn't deny enjoying the competition.

He's now won all three of his individual races at each of the last four Paralympics.

"I always joke that it's like making a big presentation to the bosses. It's not a lot of fun while you're doing it but if it goes well then you celebrate after," McKeever said of competing on the sport's biggest stage.

Well, the presentation is nearly over. It's almost time to celebrate.

WATCH | What you missed on Day 7 of the Paralympics:

While You Were Sleeping: Canada earns spot in Para hockey final, sees success on the slopes and ice

1 day agoDuration 3:21Mark Arendz, Brittany Hudak, Tyler Turner, Mollie Jepsen and Canada's wheelchair curling team all made the podium last night. Catch up on everything you missed with CBC Sports' Jacqueline Doorey.'It's meant everything': Role of guides for Paralympic athletes goes beyond field of play

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