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Best Friends Team Up for Cross Country Gold Medal

By Emanuel Sequeira

Author: BC Winter Games/Saturday, February 27, 2016/Categories: 2016 BC Winter Games, Skiing - Cross Country

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Longtime friendship helped Mikayla Richens and Haley Olinyk capture gold Saturday in a cross-country skiing event at the Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games.

Richens guided Olinyk, who is visually impaired, to victory in the five-kilometre para category of cross-country skiing at Nickel Plate Nordic Centre, clocking in at 44 minutes.

"(It’s) such a positive experience, helping your best friend reach the finish line,” said Richens, who has been friends with Olinyk since Grade 3.

Things on the course went well, but Olinyk pointed out that there were more hills than they’re used to.

The crowd was also a bit daunting.

"(There’s) such a huge audience and all of B.C. is watching," said Olinyk, noting that it was her first BC games.

It was cool to win, but Olinyk said it was great to see her friend have the experience.

"I'm used to this atmosphere," said Olinyk, who represented Canada at the International Blind Sports Association Games in Colorado Springs in goal ball. "I'm glad I brought (Richens) with me so she could experience it."

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