Daily Wrap: Corey Peters takes GOLD in the first event of Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games
Highlights from Beijing today – Day 1:
- In the first event of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, the Men’s Downhill, all three New Zealand Paralympians gave a strong showing.
- Corey Peters stormed into first place, taking New Zealand’s first medal of the Paralympics.
- Aaron Ewen becomes New Zealand Paralympian #228, with a strong 11th place finish.
- Adam Hall skied cleanly to finish in a respectable 19th position.
Coming up tomorrow – Day 2:
All three New Zealand Paralympians will compete in the Super-G event.
Super Giant Slalom (Super-G) is a single run over a long course, which combines the speed of Downhill and some of the technical characteristics of the Giant Slalom. It requires the Para alpine skier to be very precise at high speeds. It combines a variety of long and medium turns on courses that have vertical drops only slightly less steep than in Downhill.
Corey Peters: Para alpine skiing – Downhill Sitting
Having won silver at Sochi 2014 and bronze in PyeongChang 2018, Corey Peters did what he came to today, in the very first event of Beijing 2022. He says “That was my plan, gold, to finish off the set. To come away with the gold medal and be on top of the box. It’s an amazing feeling, completely elated… To come away with the gold medal in the gnarliest event is pretty frickin amazing!”
Today in the Men’s Downhill – sitting, Peters became the first New Zealand medallist at the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games, getting the New Zealand Paralympic Team on the medal table.
He took the lead from Norway’s Jesper Pedersen by the second intermediate and maintained it to the finish line with a time of 1:16.73. Pedersen finished in second place, 1.26 seconds slower than Peters, with Japan’s Tiaki Morii in third place.
The Downhill course in Yanqing is steep and technical, lending itself to Corey’s experience and precision skiing. His run was smooth and fast, incredibly quick through the steep pitches and he carried his speed well though the flats. Commentators described Peters’ run as being at the “ragged edge” and Peters agreed. “I risked everything out there. That was probably the run of my life.”
Peters says his confidence “wasn’t super high” coming into the race – he had crashed on two out of three training runs. “I just had to believe in that past experience and skill and just throw it down there on the day.”
Peters took up sit skiing in 2011. The former Taranaki age group and development squad rugby representative’s life was turned upside down in September 2009 when he sustained a crushed spinal cord at a motocross event.
Corey now spends his Northern Hemisphere seasons training in Winter Park in the USA and travelling throughout Europe and North America to compete. Back in New Zealand, he splits his time between his home base in New Plymouth and training at Cardrona Alpine Resort and at the High Performance Sport New Zealand/Snow Sports NZ Training Centre in Wānaka.
Adam Hall: Para alpine skiing – Downhill Standing
With three Paralympic medals from four Paralympic Winter Games to date, Adam Hall has long been recognised as a specialist in the technical disciplines.
“There have been a lot of challenges and obstacles to get to where we are. It’s amazing to finally have this campaign underway. It’s business time, it’s game on.”
“Today’s race was really good. Each training run on the hill got better and better. Although there’s a lot of talk about this hill and how intimidating it is, for me, there are a lot of flat areas which I was disadvantaged a little bit on. I skied it really cleanly. I pushed the line a lot. There wasn’t too much else I could do. Proud of my performance and looking forward to getting into Super-G.”
Diagnosed at birth with spina bifida – a disability that typically leaves people in a wheelchair – Adam says he’s “lucky” because he is mobile and able to walk. In 2011, he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, for services to sport.
Adam was bestowed with an incredible honour when he was announced as winner of the Whang Yuon Dai Achievement Award at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. This is presented to only one male and one female Paralympian at each Paralympic Games who best exemplify the spirit of the Paralympic Games and the Paralympic values.
Aaron Ewen: Para alpine skiing – Downhill Sitting
Aaron Ewen become NZ Paralympian #228 on his Paralympic debut race, the Men’s Downhill – sitting. The official Paralympic ‘number’ given, is a number that is bestowed upon a Paralympian, only once they have competed at their first Paralympic Games. Athletes are ordered alphabetically within each Paralympic Games and a number is given. The 25 year old from Tuakau has waited four long years for this moment, after injury forced him to pull out of the team going to PyeongChang 2018.
In February 2013, Aaron competed in a downhill mountain biking competition when he crashed, sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him without movement in his legs. His new passion was born after his friends took him up to Mt Ruapehu for a ski lesson. Aaron appreciates the independence skilling allows him, saying, “I was thrilled to find skiing gives me the same kind of feeling as riding my bike over rough stuff.” Although Ewen is relatively new to Para alpine ski racing, he is an athlete to keep your eye on.
For his first Paralympic race, Ewen didn’t disappoint, coming in 11th place in a race where 11 of the 25 sit skiers failed to finish the course.
Ewen has higher ambitions however, saying he felt he was too tentative. “Be more confident,” is his take-home going into the Super-G tomorrow.
A Para athlete with an affinity for speed, Aaron always has the capacity to surprise, giving it his all every time he pushes out through the start gate.