Canadian Men’s Biathlon Team Match Career Best Sixth Place Finish in World Cup Relay
HOCHFILZEN, Aut.—Canada sent a strong mix of veterans and rookies to the start line for a biathlon World Cup relay where they teamed up to match the best-ever finish for the nation, placing sixth in Hochfilzen, Austria on Sunday – just 20 seconds from the podium.
Brendan Green, of Hay River, N.W.T. skied the anchor leg of the 4×7.5 kilometre relay while teaming up with three Calgarians including Nathan Smith along with Christian and Scott Gow. The four-pack of Canucks clocked a time of 1:13:04.0.
“Today was a tight race for each of us and exciting through all four legs,” said Green. “That was some high-pressured racing today. We are all pretty happy for sure.”
Green, 29, was also part of a sixth-place finish for the Canadian men two years ago in Italy, and last year on the same course in Hochfilzen.
“Austria has been great to us,” laughed Green. “It’s hard to say what it is. I think right now momentum is building on the team with some good results early in the season. But I think as a team we are more confident now. The biggest thing for me is knowing if I don’t perform one of the younger guys will so that removes some pressure because the expectations for the team are not all on one athlete anymore.”
With the Canadians in a dogfight the whole way on Sunday, the podium hopes came down to Green who skied the anchor leg. Christian Gow, 22, set the tone for the Canucks in the opening leg while tagging off to the leader of the team Nathan Smith. Smith lost a bit of time trying to shoot to quick on the range, but the older Gow brother at 25, Scott, was had his teammates back, skiing a solid third leg to set Green up for a charge to the podium. With the Canadians skiing into as high as fifth position, the two-time Olympian Green was not able to make up anymore ground on the field and celebrated the sixth-place finish.
“There was a lot of pressure out there on that last leg today but I’m happy with how I handled it,” said Green, who added the two performances by the young guys on the team in the Gow brothers was a difference maker today. “It has been a bit of a slow start to the season for me. I keep getting a little better each week and hoping for a breakthrough here. Today was hopefully the start of that.”
The relay consists of each athlete skiing 7.5 kilometres with two bouts of shooting. The first starter of each team begins in a simultaneous mass start with other participants, and complete their leg before handing off to the next teammate. Competitors in the relay each carry three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds, the spares may be used, which takes more time because they are loaded by hand.
Russia finished on top with a time of 1:11:40.8. Norway skied to the silver at 1:11:43.9, while France held off the hard-charging Austrians, Germans and Canadians to secure the bronze medal with a time of 1:12:42.7.
Meanwhile, the Canadian women of Julia Ransom (Kelowna, B.C.), Megan Tandy (Prince George, B.C.), Emma Lunder (Canmore, Alta.) and Rosanna Crawford (Canmore, Alta.) had a solid outing of their own. The Canadian women finished 10th at 1:06:41.3 in the women’s 4×6 kilometre relay.
Italy won the women’s relay with a time of 1:05:32.6. Germany was second at 1:05:32.8, while the Ukraine skied to the bronze medal with a time of 1:05:45.7.
The World Cup now travels to Pokljuka, Slovenia.
Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country, and oversees the IBU Cup, World Cup, Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Mackenzie Investments, iON Worldwide, Kama, Roeckl Sports, Lapua, USANA, and ZiZU Optics – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.