December 22 - Visually impaired cross-country skier Brian McKeever (pictured) is a step closer to becoming the first winter athlete to compete in both the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The 30-year-old won an able-bodied 50 kilometre Noram race today, a result he needed to be eligible for the Olympic team.

But the number of spots on Canada's Olympic team has not been confirmed and it will be up to Cross Country Canada to decide if McKeever will race the 50km in Whistler in February.

He said: "It's the best race I could lay down today and whatever happens, happens.

"That's all you can ask to have the best race on the day when it matters."

He won in two hours 21min 8.5sec, more than a minute ahead of runner-up Brent McMurty.

McKeever has Stargardt's disease, an inherited condition of macular degeneration that also claimed his father's eyesight.

His vision is less than 10 per cent and all of it is peripheral.

McKeever has won seven Paralympic medals, including four gold, including in Turin in 2006.

He said: "The message is, you put your mind to it and you work really hard for it you can do anything.

"Ever since I was a little kid watching the 1988 Games in Calgary and coming out here to the Canmore Nordic Centre, watching a couple of races, that was pretty neat.

"To have a home Games again in Canada, Olympics and Paralympics, it's just fantastic."

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