Bramble wins gold at Paralympics
Three Truckee residents were among the 500 elite athletes with a disability who competed at this year’s Salt Lake City 2002 Paralympic Winter Games, which ran from March 7-16 and featured four sports with athletes from 35 countries.
At the games, it was a title, not a medal, that Kevin Bramble wanted most.
“I’m going out there for one thing — to be the fastest downhill paralympic skier,” Bramble stated before opening ceremonies.
Bramble, 29, laid claim to the title with a run of 1:22.05 in the sit-ski downhill, becoming the first American male skier to win gold in Salt Lake City.
“I won both training runs, so I was confident going in,” he said earlier this week. “I went dead last in the field, which I prefer, because you know if you’re at the top of the board after your run you’ve won. You don’t have to sit there and wait for everybody else.”
Bramble beat fellow American Chris Devlin-Young of New Hampshire by .17 seconds.
“I was stoked when I saw the board. I just put my hands up and skied down to the bottom of the hill,” he said. “There were two other gold medals given out in different divisions, but I had the fastest raw time out of 60-odd sit-skiers.”
While having to settle for silver in the downhill, Devlin-Young went on to take the gold in the super G.
“We were the only two gold medallists on the men’s’ U.S. ski team,” Bramble pointed out. “No one on the able-bodied team won any gold.”
It was Bramble’s first Paralympics, though he did win the men’s downhill at last years’ World Cup race.
Bramble’s roommate and girlfriend, Jennifer Kelchner, wasn’t able to repeat as the woman’s downhill gold medallist, but still came home with a medal.
Kelchner, 23, was the defending women’s downhill Olympic gold medallist from the 1998 Nagano Paralympic Games, and took the bronze in this year’s slalom. In fact, she had the fastest overall time, but factors, or time allowances given to athletes depending on the type of disability, moved Kelchner to third.
Candace Cable, also of Truckee, competed in five events, including four cross country races and the biathlon.
Cable just missed medals in the 5k and 10k races, taking fourth in both events.
However Cable was at the front of the pack during Opening Ceremonies, where she carried the flag for the American team.
“It was a great honor, because your teammates vote for who is going to carry the flag. It was very exciting,” Cable said afterward.
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