German great Gerd Schonfelder closed out his Paralympic career on a high on Friday after winning the men’s super-G (standing) title for his third gold medal of the Games, along with one silver.
Through six Paralympic appearances, the downhill specialist has won 21 medals, including a record 15 gold medals. With his wife due to give birth to the couple’s second child any day, the 39-year-old electronic technician said he was looking forward to going home, adding he had no regrets about his final Paralympic appearance.
“I’m happy. Every race I win I’m happy. This last week has been a lot of mental pressure and it has been tough, but I have three gold medals and one silver, so I’m very happy,” he said.
A top racer since the age of 10, Schonfelder’s life changed at 19 when he lost his right arm above the elbow and some of his left hand. He says the accident changed his life somewhat “in a good way.”
“My first Paralympics were in Albertville in 1992, which was totally different and it has gotten better and better since then. When they changed the rules in 2006 in Turin they changed it to a three-class system, so that meant there was more competition in my class. That was a big motivator for me,” he said.
Insisting he is not a legend, as he has been called so many times by his fellow competitors and the media, Schonfelder said he would compete maybe one more season, perhaps at next year’s World Cup in Italy.
“I have so much fun with skiing and racing,” he said. “Never say never, but I plan to retire next year. I will get my coaching license and give my knowledge to youngsters.”
Meanwhile, Japan’s Akira Kano captured the Alpine skiing super-G (sitting) gold for his second medal of the Games.
The 24-year-old, who won the bronze in Thursday’s downhill, won in a time of 1 minute, 19.98 seconds, with Germany’s Martin Braxenthaler (1 minute, 20.63 seconds) taking silver and Japan’s Taiki Morii (1 minute, 20.98 seconds) the bronze.
France’s Nicolas Berejny won the super-G (visually impaired) in a time of 1 minute, 21.5 seconds, his country’s first gold of the Games.
Guided by Sophie Troc, 41-year-old Berejny finished ahead of the Slovakian pair Jakub Krako (1 minute, 21.71 seconds) and Miroslav Haraus (1 minute, 22.75 seconds).
In the women’s events, Canada’s Lauren Woolstencroft won her fourth career gold when she captured the super-G (sitting).
The 28-year-old won in 1 minute, 26.46 seconds, with Italy’s Melania Corradini (1 minute, 31.92 seconds) and Andrea Rothfuss of Germany (1 minute, 32.47 seconds) making up the podium.