“I couldn't have asked for a better start.''
CANMORE, Alta.—Emily Young stole the show for the Canucks at the season-opening Para nordic World Cup race on home snow after racking up four bronze medals.
The Vancouver resident took aim on her fourth medal of the week, and first in the biathlon events, after finishing third in the women’s 10-kilometre biathlon pursuit race on Sunday. The 26-year-old Young missed two shots in her four rounds of shooting to clock a time of 38:02.4.
“I'm happy it's done. The stress is over. I don't have to shoot anymore,” said Young. “Overall it was pretty good. I had to ski hard to make up for the couple I missed, but it's good practice to have to sprint in a longer distance race.”
Starting 4.01 back from the leader based on Saturday’s sprint, the battle was on to catch the front runners in the first career pursuit race for the fourth-year member of Canada’s Para-Nordic squad.
“I haven't raced that many biathlon races. My focus has been on cross country so it's just range procedure and learning how to shoot clean in a race situation,” added Young. “Overall I was happy with the shooting. I executed it as well as I could, and then skied my butt off in the penalty lap a couple times.”
Neutral Athlete, Ekaterina Rumyantseva won the gold with a time of 35:06.5 despite a difficult day of shooting (1+1+2+2). Anna Milenina, also a Neutral Athlete, skied to the silver at 37:43.3 (2+1+4+1).
It was a rock-solid start to the season for Young.
“I couldn't have asked for a better start. I know in the moment throughout the training season you have your up and down days, but I think overall, I've had more ups than downs and it's showed in December here,” added Young.
Brittany Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., also had a solid week. Regularly in the hunt for the podium, the 24-year-old finished in fourth place in her first-ever pursuit race with a time of 39:28.6.
“I just wanted to ski fast and try to stay focused on my own race. It gets a little distracting when you're trying to catch the people ahead of you, but you know the people behind you are catching you, and your thoughts can kind of skew away from what your process is and what your race plan is,” said Hudak. “You have to remain within your own limits. You can't ski too fast and then completely miss everything in the range, so you have to just stay focused on your race plan.”
Hudak was the top shooter in the women’s standing field, missing just one shot in her first of four rounds.
“I've been working with my coach to try to shoot faster in training by going to one breath between shots,” added Hudak. “My shooting felt slow, but maybe that's just what it felt like when you know you're up against the clock.
“There comes a time when you have to realize how far you've come. I haven't been skiing all that long. My technique was really bad not that long ago, so it's come along way. It is a good start to the season specially to end on a positive note.”
Mark Arendz, who finished second in the biathlon distance race on Thursday, was the top Canadian in the men’s 12.5-kilometre standing race.
Arendz, of Hartsville, P.E.I., missed one shot in each of his two middle rounds on the range, to clock a time of 36:45.1.
“I think just a little fatigued on the range mentally. The first loop and last loop were really good, it's just that the two middle ones with the misses there – that hurt. I think I would've been in the running for the podium without those two misses, so I'm happy with that. It's a long week overall, so it's good to wrap it up,” said Arendz.
Benjamin Daviet, of France, won the men’s standing race with a time of 34:19.3 (0+1+0+1).
Complete Results: https://www.paralympic.org/nordic-skiing/calendar-results