Natalie Wilkie pictured competing in the women’s 15km cross country race during the 2018 Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang March 12. The young Paralympian just raced her way to a bronze medal finish in her latest event, the 1.5km sprint race. (Scott Grant/Canadian Paralympic Committee)

Salmon Arm Paralympian Natalie Wilkie races to the podium

A bronze medal finish just 0.1 seconds off the silver

Paralympic skier Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm has earned a bronze medal in the Women’s 1.5km Sprint Classic, Standing event, coming in just shy of the silver medal finish.

She has participated in two events at the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, competing in the 15km Free, Standing event and the 1.5km Sprint Classic, Standing race so far.

After placing sixth in the 15km event on March 12, and only 1:04 away from a podium time, Wilkie was off to the 1.5km sprint the morning of March 14. She made it through the qualifying race and semifinals to get a shot at the podium in the final heat of the sprints.

The finals were a tightly contested race, with only 3.2 seconds separating the top three finishers. At the close of the 1.5km event Natalie Wilkie finished with a time of 5:14.3, just 0.1 seconds behind the second place finisher Vilde Nilsen of Norway, earning her chance to take the podium and be awarded a bronze medal for her performance.

Her teammates Emily Young and Brittany Hudak of Team Canada also raced in the finals for the 1.5km race, placing fourth and sixth respectively.

Wilkie lost most of the fingers on her left hand through an accident in wood shop class in 2016, but that hasn’t stopped her from competing in cross country skiing events, both standard and para, at a national level.

Related: Natalie Wilkie bounces back after injury

Wilkie has two events left to compete in at the Paralympics, the 7.5km Classic, Standing race and the 4.25km Mixed Relay race. The 7.5km event can be watched live March 16 at 7:45 p.m. PST while the relay race will air March 17 in two separate heats, the first at 6 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m. PST.


 

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jodi.brak@saobserver.net

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