Whistler’s Mollie Jepsen is golden once more.
The 22-year-old para-alpine skier took home Canada’s first gold of the Paralympics in Beijing on Friday, March 4, topping the podium in the women’s standing downhill with a time of 1:21.75, an upgrade from her bronze-medal performance at the 2018 Winter Games. It’s also the second straight Games she captured Canada’s first medal. The fifth Paralympic medal of Jepsen’s young career, the West Vancouver native has been on a tear this season, hitting the podium in all 10 of her international races.
“I think until December of 2021, I really had no idea how I was skiing and how I was going to stack up against the rest of the girls,” said Jepsen in a release from the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “I was confident in the team and the way we had been handling COVID and training, but until a couple months ago I really had no idea. Once I knew in December, I could really build my confidence until now and it feels really amazing to know my best skiing is capable on standing on top of the podium. I don’t think it’s really set in yet, but I’ve grown a lot over the last four years and to stand on top of the podium in the first race feels amazing.”
With a gold around her neck, Jepsen still has two more chances to top the podium in Beijing. She’s competing in the standing super-g today, and then in the standing giant slalom on March 10, both events she has realistic chances of medalling.
Canada’s has had a fairly strong early showing at the Paralympics, with three medals at press time. That’s behind China with eight medals and, notable given the ongoing Russian invasion dominating international headlines, Ukraine isn’t far behind, with seven medals so far, and is leading the way with three gold medals, the most of any country.
For the full Paralympic Winter Games schedule, visit paralympic.org.