Kurka gears up for Paralympics with pair of World Cup medals


After a season of climate-induced race cancellations, the ready ended and the profitable started Saturday for Alaska sit-skier Andrew Kurka.

Kurka confirmed his standing as a Paralympics medal contender by amassing two downhill medals — one gold, one bronze — on the Para Alpine World Cup Finals in Kimberley, British Columbia.

The outcomes confirmed the apparent: Kurka, the highest-ranked downhill and tremendous-G sit-skier on the earth, is headed to his second Winter Paralympics Video games. The Paralympics, a as soon as-each-4-years competitors for athletes with bodily disabilities, are March 9-18 in Pyeonchang, South Korea.

“That is an official clinch,” Kurka stated by cellphone. “I’m formally on the staff now that I’ve a World Cup podium.”

The outcomes “actually helped to spice up my confidence” heading into Pyeongchang, he stated.

Kurka, who simply turned 26, was partially paralyzed in an ATV accident at age thirteen. He certified for the Paralympics 4 years in the past however by no means made it to the beginning line — he crashed throughout downhill coaching and broke his again.

He got here again higher than ever. Finally yr’s World Championships, Kurka gained gold within the downhill, silver within the big slalom and bronze within the tremendous-G.

Saturday’s downhills have been the primary of the World Cup season. To assist make up for all the races that had been canceled, officers staged two downhills Saturday and can stage two tremendous-G races Sunday.

Kurka stated he favored his possibilities Saturday after ending third in coaching Friday. He stated he does not ski for velocity throughout coaching runs — as an alternative he feels out the course, seems to be for locations to collect velocity, identifies spots the place he can or cannot take possibilities.

“Coaching runs for me, if I am eighth I am as joyful as if I am first,” he stated.

“Understanding I might take it straightforward and never be aerodynamic via my run and nonetheless pull out third place in coaching, I had a reasonably a reasonably good concept I might pull off a prime spot within the races.”

Kurka gained Saturday’s first downhill race in 1 minute, 14.seventy four seconds, 9-tenths of a second forward of Japan’s Akira Kano. Within the second race, he clocked 1:14.28, ending 1.fifty two seconds behind winner Kurt Oatway of Canada.

Kurka was happy to make the rostrum in each races, however he stated what issues most to him proper now’s the Paralympics.

“From the day the season began I couldn’t anticipate Pyeongchang to occur,” he stated. “I am not a affected person individual. I would like it to be right here and over with. I am counting…



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