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Skiers grab Canada's first gold, bronze medals at Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics

13 March 2018, 02:49 | Henrietta Morgan

Skiers grab Canada's first gold, bronze medals at Pyeongchang Winter Paralympics

5 2018 workers for the Pyeong Chang Winter Paralympic Games clear snow at Alpensia Biathlon Centre in PyeongChang Gangwon Province

Pyeongchang, Mar. 9 (BNA): The 2018 PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games kicked off on Friday with an opening ceremony emphasising passion and coexistence.

The rapid inter-Korean thaw has eased tensions that soared past year when Pyongyang tested missiles that could reach the U.S. mainland and detonated what it said was an H-bomb.

In the biathlon - which combines skiing and shooting - US took gold and silver in the women's sit ski, with Kendall Gretcsch coming first and Oskana Masters second.

Team USA earned two gold medals four years ago, but on Saturday in South Korea the United States stood atop the podium three times, including in both men's and women's biathlon. At the "Parade of Nations" flag-bearer of the Ukrainian team was the repeated champion and medalist of the Paralympic games in ski racing and biathlon Vitaly Lukyanenko.

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North Korea took center stage at the ceremony.

North Korea pulled out of the joint march after South Korea chose to remove islands claimed by Japan from the flag, which depicts the Korean peninsula.

Yesterday the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang took place.

Andrew Parsons, president of the IPC, said in a statement that North Korea's presence was a pivotal moment for the Paralympic movement and that he hoped that "the focus can now be on the performances of Para athletes on the field of play, not the politics off it".

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The athletics lineup includes alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice hockey, snowboarding and wheelchair curling.

A record 48 countries are taking part in the Games.

American snowboarder Brenna Huckaby, who lost her right leg below the knee, made headlines when she featured in Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.

The 18-year-old from Vancouver captured bronze on Saturday in the women's standing downhill event with a time of one minute 34.60 seconds at the Jeongseon Alpine Centre, behind victor Marie Bochet of France (1:30.30) and runner-up Andrea Rothfuss of Germany (1:32.53).

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Team Japan athletes wave miniature flags during the opening ceremony. Thirty athletes, who have met strict conditions, were approved by the International Paralympic Committee to compete as Neutral Paralympic Athletes in Pyeongchang.



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