Tag Archives: weownsnow

Nathan Smith

The month of March always signifies the last full month of competition for our snow sport athletes. From the final alpine world cup races in France, to the end of the biathlon world cup season in Russia, to our cross country athletes wrapping up their season in Norway, it has been an exciting time for our fans. Fans across Canada had a blast cheering our athletes on down the homestretch and watching them #goforgold one last time.

During the month of March, biathlete Nathan Smith finished his breakout season by making history for Biathlon Canada. Coming off a strong February in which he had career best finishes of 5th and 7th, Smith went on to win the silver medal at the world championships in Kontiolahti, Finland, finish 5th in a sprint race in Russia, and then win gold in the pursuit race only a couple days later.   These results represented a series of milestones both for Smith as an athlete, and for Biathlon Canada:

  • First Canadian male to win a medal at the Biathlon World Championships
  • Second Canadian male to win a biathlon world cup gold medal
  • First Canadian male to win a both a world championship and world cup biathlon medal in the same season

With such a record-setting month, Nathan Smith is deservedly the Snow Sports Canada Athlete of the Month for March. Congratulations Nathan!

Notable Performances

Nathan Smith wasn’t the only Snow Sports Canada athlete who truly owned the snow in March. In fact, during the last work cup stops many of our athletes rose to the challenge and put in some of their best performances of the season. We now would like to acknowledge the following athletes for their strong performances at their respective final world cup events of the 2015-’16 season:

  • Taylor Henrich won her second bronze medal of the season at the final event in Norway
  • Dustin Cook won the alpine super-g in Meribel, France to end a breakout season
  • Chris Robanske finished the season on a high note, winning snowboard cross gold in Spain
  • Cassie Sharpe & Mike Riddle both won gold at the final halfpipe event in Tignes, France
  • Brady Leman stole silver at the last ski cross race of 2015 in Megeve, France

Congratulations to all of our athletes as they wrapped up the season in style and continued to show the world that when it comes to snow sports, no team is better than #TeamCanada

 

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What do ski racers actually wear under their speed suits? ‘Skin to Win’ is a popular saying, but does that actually happen? Host Kelly VanderBeek speaks with Canadian National Team members to find out what’s really under there!
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Nordic World Champs Pic

One of the biggest events of the nordic skiing season, the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships, is just around the corner. With huge crowds, the best athletes from around the world, and a variety of events, this is a can’t-miss event for any nordic skiing fan. Read on to get familiar with the event, meet the athletes, and brush up on your knowledge of Team Canada!

Location

A city of 38,000 inhabitants, located in Sweden, Falun was named a world heritage site in 2001 by the United Nations. Falun has a history of hosting many high-level nordic skiing events, including the world championships. Currently held every other year, Falun has hosted the world championships three times – in ’54, ’74 & ’93. In 1954, an estimated 115,000 spectators watched 500 athletes from 21 nations compete, and while doing so set a record for attendance at a single winter sport event in Sweden when 50,000 watched the ski jumping final. The record wouldn’t be broken until Falun again hosted the nordic world championships, in 1993.

Falun 2015

The world championships contain three disciplines of nordic skiing – cross country, ski jumping, and nordic combined, the latter of which is a combination sport consisting of one run of ski jumping, and one run of cross country. Canada has hosted the nordic skiing world championships once, in 1995 in Thunder Bay, and this marked only the second time the event had been held outside of Europe. Spread out over eleven competition days, there are twelve different races on the programme for both men and women. The event kicks off Feb. 18th and wraps up March 1st.

Building on Success in 2013

Although Canada failed to win a medal when it hosted the event in ’95, Team Canada has since won three medals at the world championships – one gold and two bronze medals. Canada’s most accomplished cross-country skiing athlete, Alex Harvey, has won a medal in each of the last two world championships – a gold in the team sprint in 2011 in Norway with team-mate Devon Kershaw, and a bronze in the individual sprint event in 2013 in Italy.

Our Athletes

This year, Canada will look to build on its success of late at the world championships, and add to its medal count. The following athletes will represent Cross Country Canada:

Alex Harvey, Devon Kershaw, Ivan Babikov, Len Valijad, Jesse Cockney, Graeme Killick, Perianne Jones, Emily Nishikawa & Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt.

Join us in cheering on our athletes as they compete to show the world that #weownsnow

Kingsbury Kreischberg Podium Picture

If we were to sum up the month of January for our athletes in one word, it would be – wow. Our athletes proved once again that on snow, they are the best in the world. From gold medals at the X Games, to podium sweeps in Austria and making history in Germany, our team has been dominant so far this season – which makes choosing one athlete among them all as our Athlete of the Month a difficult task.

There was however one athlete who had a truly historic start to the season, and a dominant January. Your Snow Sports Canada athlete of the month for January is Mikaël Kingsbury.

Kingsbury has had an amazing month of competition in January, winning five gold medals and one silver through six competitions. Kingsbury is on top of the leaderboard with 429 points, 204 points up on fellow Canadian Philippe Marquis who sits second with 225 points. At just 22 years of age, Kingsbury is a bonafide star on the moguls world cup circuit, and will be one to watch for years to come. Congratulations on a stellar month of competition Mikaël!

Honourable Mention

  1. Marielle Thompson
  2. Justine Dufour-Lapointe

Historic Performances

  • Taylor Henrich became the first Canadian woman to stand on the ski jumping world cup podium after she finished third in a world cup event in Germany. Taylor also had another first for Canada, as she placed first in the qualification round prior to the final event. Congratulations on an historic achievement Taylor!
  • Simon d’Artois became the first Canadian to win a superpipe gold medal when he won the X Games event in Aspen. Check out Simon’s jaw-dropping winning run:

 

 

Congratulations to all of our athletes on a strong January, and let’s keep the momentum rolling into February! #weownsnow

Mcmorris_1680

Photo Credit: Canadian Olympic Committee

Snow Sports Canada applauds the initiative of the Harper Government, Governor General of Canada David Johnston, and Minister of Sport Bal Gosal in proclaiming 2015 the Year of Sport in Canada.

Snow Sports Canada athletes are a competitive and growing presence on the international stage, and the seven snow sport organizations of Alpine Canada, Biathlon Canada, Canada Snowboard, Cross Country Ski Canada, Freestyle Ski Canada, Nordic Combined Canada and Ski Jumping Canada are hard at work preparing for a busy season of competition.

We are excited to watch our athletes compete over the next two months, and carry that momentum into 2015: The Year of Sport. Don’t forget to cheer on our Alpine Canada athletes this weekend as they open their World Cup racing season in Soelden, Austria! #weownsnow

Click here for more information on the 2015 Year of Sport

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Governor General Proclaims 2015 as Year of Sport in Canada

OTTAWA—During the ceremonial lighting of the torch for the Prince George 2015 Canada Winter Games today on Parliament Hill, His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, proclaimed 2015 as the Year of Sport in Canada. The announcement was made in the presence of the Honourable Bal Gosal, Minister of State (Sport); Her Worship Shari Green, Mayor of Prince George; Tom Quinn, Chair of the Canada Games Council; Brett Robinson, Executive Chair of the Prince George 2015 Canada Winter Games Host Society; Chief Dominic Frederick of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation; and athletes representing the 19 sports taking place at the Games. 

“Next year promises to be a truly memorable sporting year for Canadians. A number of major international sporting events will take place in Canada, including the Pan Am Games, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the IIHF World Hockey Junior Championships. It is for these reasons and so many more that I am delighted to proclaim 2015 the Year of Sport in Canada,” declared His Excellency. 

In 2015, Canada will play host to several international sporting events.  With its overarching theme of “Canada: A Leading Sport Nation,” the Year of Sport will highlight key moments in our nation’s history and showcase Canadian contributions to the world of sport. The initiative is also intended to build momentum leading up to the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017.

See original press release here

TIPS FROM THE PROS

This Issue: A discussion with Joel Jaques, wax technician for Canada’s National Cross Country Team 

skiwaxing_shutterstock_24690370_smallJoel Jaques is a wax technician with Canada’s national cross country ski team, supporting all the skiers as well as acting as personal wax tech for Perianne Jones and Ivan Babikov.  Currently with the team for World Cup races in Europe and preparing to head off to Sochi for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, Jaques took a few minutes to pass on his waxing tips for recreational cross country skiers. 

What’s your most important piece of advice for people new to waxing their own skis?

JJ: Keep it simple.  On the World Cup circuit we’ll do pretty complicated things to make sure our skiers’ skis are the best and fastest, but at a recreational level this isn’t necessary.  Don’t try to over complicate the waxing – just make sure you have good skis, and then follow the guidelines on the wax that you buy.

What are the basic waxing supplies someone should own if they’re just getting started?

JJ: You need the following basics:

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  • Iron – to melt your wax
  • Cork – for spreading the wax
  • Scraper – to remove excess wax from the base before brushing it
  • Brush – a general purpose brush to remove the final bits of wax from your base without damaging the skis
  • Waxes:  I’d suggest a base binder, a red,violet and blue hard wax, a universal klister, a warm and a cold glide wax.
Why is it important to wax your skis?

JJ: In classic skiing, waxing gives you grip for going up the hills.  No one likes to ski with no grip!  Glide wax allows you glide faster.  Both are important, because there’s no greater feeling that skiing on a well-waxed pair of skis.

How often should someone wax their skis?

JJ: For classic waxing it is best to wax every time you go out.  This allows you to have the ideal grip wax for the snow and weather conditions.  Glide waxing is something that you can do less frequently, but in an ideal world you would wax before every ski.  Don’t let this hinder you though – the most important is that you get out there and enjoy the trails.

Are there different waxing requirements for different types of skis?

JJ: There are skate skis, which are stiffer and need glide wax applied to the entire surface.   Then you have classic skis – these are a little bit longer and softer.  You can get waxless classic skis, which are convenient because you can just put them on and go. They work well in most conditions, but are generally slower than a well-waxed ski. And of course waxable classic skis require to you apply wax yourself.

What’s the proper technique for applying wax?

shutterstock_93674263JJ: For glide wax you want to apply it using an iron. The most important thing is to keep the iron moving on the ski so that it melts the wax but doesn’t burn your ski base. Then let the ski cool, scrape the excess was off with a plastic scraper, and finally, brush the remaining wax off with a brush. This will allow the structure of the ski base to be clean.

For classic waxing, it’s best to melt a base binder on with either an iron or heat gun.  You want to let this cool before you apply the kick wax. Pick one that has an appropriate temperature range.  Apply the wax and smooth it out with the cork until it’s uniform, then repeat.  Usually 4-6 layers should be enough.

How do different weather conditions affect waxing? 

JJ: Weather is the biggest factor in waxing.  We also consider humidity, snow type and sun on the track.  There are different waxes for different conditions.  For classic racing we use hard wax in colder conditions and klister in really warm and icy conditions.

What should you do to your skis at the end of the season?

JJ: At the end of the season it’s good to put a layer of wax on your skis and leave it without scraping it off.  This will protect your bases over the summer.  In the fall you can scrape the wax off and you’ll be ready to hit the trails.

How it works, where it comes from and who to watch

Slopestyle skiing is already a favourite at the X Games and Dew Tour, but the sport will take the final step in its journey from the terrain park to the big time when its athletes make their Olympic debut in Sochi in February 2014. In a sense it’s also the next phase in the modernization of the Winter Olympic Games – bringing in sports largely developed through inclusion in the X Games – which began when moguls and aerials were added as demonstration sports at the ’88 Calgary Winter Olympics.

slopestyleIf you’re new to watching slopestyle it works like this: the skiers make their way down a terrain park course that features “waves” of features such as jumps and rails. In each wave, the athlete has several options in terms of type of feature or size of jump which they can choose from which ultimately add to both the individuality and creativity of the discipline. The athletes are judged and score points based on amplitude (how much air they get off the jumps), difficulty, originality and quality of their tricks – usually spins, grinds, grabs and flips. It’s a very creative sport; each skier is encouraged to develop his or her own personal style and there’s tremendous diversity in the tricks, which is what makes it so much fun for both the skiers and their audiences.

Peter Judge, CEO of the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA), calls slopestyle the urbanization of skiing. Growing out of BMX biking and skateboarding, slopestyle takes urban street culture to the snow. Beginning in about the mid 1990s, skiers began adopting some of the tricks that snowboarders were doing. Since then, slopestyle has accelerated rapidly and become an important and exciting part of the freestyle ski program, in part because it’s so accessible to everyone.

“Terrain parks are part of the mountain culture at just about every resort in Canada. Aspiring athletes can try out the obstacles and learn basic tricks, and if they’re keen, join a club,” says Judge. CFSA offers formalized athlete development programs in many freestyle ski clubs, which give kids a head start through instruction and competitive opportunities.

Canadian national team skier Kaya Turski got into slopestyle after rollerblading competitively as a teenager. “I was invited to an event where I tried skiing for the first time in about eight years,” she says. “It was very similar to rollerblading and I connected with the sport instantly.”

slopestylefeat

Unlike the “classic” freestyle disciplines of moguls and aerials, slopestyle athletes compete in a broad spectrum of events including not only the FIS World Cup but independent specialty events on the AFP circuit (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) and the X Games.  Through all these events they accumulate points and are ranked by the AFP on their top five finishes throughout the year.

To succeed at the highest level of the sport requires a mix of diverse athletic skills and inventive creativity. Judge says that Turski possesses this unique combination which is why she has been such a dominating force in the sport, winning almost everything there is to win including seven X-Games titles and two World Championship medals since 2010.   Although Kaya suffered an ACL injury in August last year she is well on the road to recovery and hungry to get back to her winning ways before and at Sochi.  Canada’s hopes are also supported by up and comer Dara Howell, who finished second to Kaya at last year’s World Championships and has stepped up in Kaya’s injury absence.

“With Kaya and Dara finishing 1-2 in the World Championships last winter, they have proven that they will certainly be in the hunt in Sochi,” concluded Judge.  Aside from the internal rivalry, the Canadian women will also face strong competition from athletes from the U.S. and Norway.  On the men’s side, rising stars Alex Beaulieu-Marchand and Alex Bellemare should also be in the hunt for medals in Sochi, though they’re expected to face tough competition, particularly from the Americans.

Of the chance to compete at the Olympics, Turski says “It’s a major opportunity for our sport to grow and for me to represent Canada and make my dreams come true. I can’t wait to be at the top of the start gate, ready to give it my all and having done everything I could do to be there.”

Canada’s Snowboard Team grows as 19 more athletes are nominated to Canadian Olympic Team

Eight women and 11 men join five snowboarding athletes already nominated to Canadian Olympic Team

Canada Snowboard announced today their remaining 19 athletes who are formally nominated onto the Canadian Olympic Snowboarding Team for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

The eight women: Jenna Blasman (Kitchener, ON); Caroline Calvé (Aylmer, QC); Alexandra Duckworth (Kingsburg, NS); Ariane Lavigne (Lac Supérieur, QC); Marianne Leeson (Burlington, ON); Dominique Maltais (Petite-Rivière-St-François, QC); Mercedes Nicoll (Whistler, BC); Katie Tsuyuki (Toronto, ON); and 11 men: Jasey-Jay Anderson (Mont-Tremblant, QC); Rob Fagan (Cranbrook, BC); Kevin Hill (Vernon, BC); Jake Holden (Caledon, ON); Michael Lambert (Toronto, ON); Crispin Lipscomb (Whistler, BC); Derek Livingston (Aurora, ON); Brad Martin (Ancaster, ON); Matt Morison (Burketon, ON); Maxence Parrot (Bromont, QC); and Charles Reid (Mont-Tremblant, QC) were nominated during an announcement at the beautiful l’hôtel de Glace in Quebec City.

“Going to Sochi is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one that I am honoured to have been chosen for,” said Caroline Calvé, Vancouver 2010 Olympian. “I have been working on perfecting my game for such a long time now and am excited to be competing against the world’s best. It will be an honour to be representing Canada at the Olympics.”

“Today is such a special day for me. To be named a Canadian Olympic snowboarder and being made part of the Canadian Olympic Team is one of the proudest moments of my career,” said Maxence Parrot. “I can’t wait to hit the snow in Sochi and show the world what Canada is made of.”

“This is an incredibly talented group of athletes who have all earned the right to don our country’s colours in Sochi,” added Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee. “Each of the snowboarders nominated today has the potential to compete and win against the world’s best. I look forward to seeing their stunning performances as they attempt to land on the Olympic podium.”

Canada Snowboard earned the maximum of 24 quota spots for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games and each discipline received six. This means a full team will be heading to Sochi aiming for medal success. Canada’s snowboarders will be competing next at the X-Games (January 23-26) in Aspen, Colorado, where Mark McMorris and Dominique Maltais go in as defending champions in their respective disciplines. This, as well as the Sudelfeld PGS World Cup, will be the last international competitions for our Canadians prior to Sochi.

“Congratulations to the Canadian snowboarders who make up the Olympic snowboarding team for Sochi. We are anxious to see you go up against the best athletes in your discipline, achieve great things and demonstrate your skill to the world,” said Jacques Gourde, Member of Parliament (Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière). “Your fellow Canadians are cheering you on at every stage of your journey. Good luck in your preparations and in the competitions!”

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal to contend to be the top nation in overall medals won.

List of Snowboarding athletes nominated to the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team:

First Last Hometown Sport
Jasey-Jay Anderson Mont-Tremblant, QC Snowboard – Men’s PGS/PSL
Jenna  Blasman Kitchener, ON Snowboard – Women’s Slopestyle
Caroline  Calvé Aylmer, QC Snowboard – Women’s PGS/PSL
Alex Duckworth Kingsburg, NS Snowboard – Women’s Halfpipe
Rob Fagan Cranbrook, BC Snowboard – Men’s SBX
Kevin Hill Vernon, BC Snowboard – Men’s SBX
Jake  Holden Caledon, ON Snowboard – Men’s SBX
Michael  Lambert Toronto, ON Snowboard – Men’s PGS/PSL
Ariane Lavigne Lac Supérieur, QC Snowboard – Women’s PGS/PSL
Marianne Leeson Burlington, ON Snowboard – Women’s PGS/PSL
Crispin Lipscomb Whistler, BC Snowboard – Men’s Halfpipe
Derek  Livingston Aurora, ON Snowboard – Men’s Halfpipe
Dominique Maltais Petite-Rivière-St-François, QC Snowboard – Women’s SBX
Brad  Martin Ancaster, ON Snowboard – Men’s Halfpipe
Matt Morison Burketon, ON Snowboard – Men’s PGS/PSL
Mercedes Nicoll Whistler, BC Snowboard – Women’s Halfpipe
Maxence  Parrot Bromont, QC Snowboard – Men’s Slopestyle
Charles  Reid Mont-Tremblant, QC Snowboard – Men’s Slopestyle
Katie  Tsuyuki Toronto, ON Snowboard – Women’s Halfpipe

These newly-nominated 19 snowboarders now join five other snowboarders (Mark McMorris, Sebastien Toutant, Spencer O’Brien, Maelle Ricker and Chris Robanske), 10 speed skaters, 10 curling athletes, 16 bobsledders, seven lugers, four skeleton athletes, 21 women hockey players, eight biathletes, 25 men hockey players, six alpine skiers, 17 figure skaters, 11 cross-country skiers and 20 freestyle skiers as the next members on the Canadian Olympic Team. Up to four more teams will be announced between now and February.

 

Brittany Phelan pleased with her second slalom run in Are, Sweden.

Part of a group of emerging young Canadian female slalom specialists, ‘Britt’ had a breakthrough 2012-13 season as she recorded six top-30 World Cup finishes, including her first career top-10. Phelan, who has been a member of the national team since 2008, showed her promise with a fifth-place finish in slalom at the 2011 FIS Junior World Ski Championships. She made her debut at the senior world ski championships in Schladming, Austria, in 2013.

For Brittany’s full bio visit: http://www.alpinecanada.org/athlete/phelan

 

John Leslie of Arnprior, Ont., took another giant step in his career this past weekend as he won bronze medals in both men’s snowboard cross races at a Para-snowboard World Cup competition.  They were his first career medals on the circuit.

The below knee amputee, who is also developing an impressive set of freestyle skills on the board, moved to Whistler recently to train and his dedication continues to pay dividends.

‘’It’s nice to see the hard work and training pay off,’’ said Leslie, 21. ‘’I’m super proud of myself to have made these accomplishments for the first time in my career.’’

Leslie’s coach Candice Drouin said the results augur well for the future.

‘’John showed he can be consistent,’’ said Drouin.  ‘’I’m proud of our entire team.  All the pre-season training has been effective and we are looking forward to racing some more.’’

On Saturday, Michael Shea led the U.S., to a 1-2 finish clocking 1:21.10 with the fastest times on all three runs.  The two best times are combined for the final result.  Evan Strong was second at 1:24.18 and Leslie followed in 1:27.01.  Ian Lockey of Trail, B.C., was fifth and Tyler Mosher of Whistler, B.C., sixth.

On Sunday, Strong turned the tables on his teammate winning in 1:22.40 with Shea second in 1:22.49.  Leslie posted a 1:25.79.   Mosher was 12th and Lockey decided to sit out the race to heal a sore ankle.

Leslie has worn a prosthetic leg since being treated for cancer at age 10, but that never slowed him down to be an active part of the Arnprior community.   He is a recipient of Ontario Community Newspapers Association junior citizen of the year award.

Just last month, Arnprior gave Leslie a huge Ottawa Valley send-off as he headed out west for his final set of training and competitions before the Sochi Games.  Leslie took the opportunity to visit schools including Arnprior District High School, where he graduated and which also organized the send-off.

Leslie’s long-term goal has always to peak for the 2018 Paralympics in South Korea, but if this weekend’s results are indication, Leslie may be on the fast track to the podium in Sochi.

One of the most naturally-gifted skiers on the team, Hudec has a unique personal story that begins with his family fleeing their Czech homeland in a boat when he was a young child. After spending time in a West German refugee camp, the Hudecs eventually settled in Alberta. Hudec’s ski career is a testament to his perseverance, having fought back from multiple major knee surgeries and other serious injuries. In 2007, he became the first Canadian in the history of the Lake Louise World Cup to win the downhill. He also claimed a world championship silver medal that year. In 2012, he won his first World Cup race since 2007 when he led Canada to a historic 1-3-5 finish in Chamonix, France.

For Jan’s full bio visit http://www.alpinecanada.org/athlete/hudec 

 

11 Athletes Nominated to Historic Men’s and Women’s Teams

Cross Country Canada announced today the men and women officially nominated onto the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Cross Country Skiing Team.

The six men: Alex Harvey (St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Quebec); Devon Kershaw (Sudbury, Ontario); Ivan Babikov (Canmore, Alberta); Graeme Killick (Fort McMurray, Alberta); Jesse Cockney (Canmore, Alberta); and Lenny Valjas (Toronto, Ontario); and five women: Chandra Crawford (Canmore, Alberta); Daria Gaiazova (Banff, Alberta); Heidi Widmer (Banff, Alberta); Emily Nishikawa (Whitehorse, Yukon); and Perianne Jones (Almonte, Ontario) were nominated during an announcement at Altadore School in Calgary.

ccskinationalsCanada is set to send one of its most talented teams of cross-country skiers of yet to the start line with a focus on contributing to the nation’s medal count at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games. For the first time ever, Canada qualified a core group of seven veterans – six of them Olympians who have all won medals on the World Cup circuit over the last four years. Each of these athletes qualified based on their World Cup results over the last two years.

“This is a medal-winning team that has evolved from a group of talented athletes excited to be on the start line into a group of determined high-performers focused on winning, and confident in their ability to achieve podium results,” said Tom Holland, High-Performance Director, Cross Country Canada.

The final four athletes including Graeme Killick, Jesse Cockney, Heidi Widmer and Emily Nishikawa, earned the last four spots to round out the Canadian Olympic Cross-Country Ski Team following Cross Country Canada’s Olympic Trials held last week in Canmore, Alberta.

“Depth is critical towards mounting an attack on the podium in any sport, and we have seen through the development of our elite program, that our women are hungry to win another medal at the Games, while us guys are now racing to win the country’s first-ever Olympic medal,” said Devon Kershaw, who was the first Canadian male along with Alex Harvey to win a gold medal at the World Championships.

“Our cross-country skiers have been training ferociously with unmatched dedication in order to be at the top of their game as we head into Sochi,” said Marcel Aubut, President, Canadian Olympic Committee. “On behalf of the COC, I congratulate all 11 of our phenomenal cross-country skiing athletes – your country will certainly be cheering you on as you take to the snow in Russia.”

The athletes were officially introduced by seven lucky Calgary kids in front of more than 270 of their fellow students that painted the gym red with clothing at Altadore School. After being introduced, the athletes led by  Cross Country Canada`s official mascot, Klister, took the kids along with the school’s teachers and officials from the COC and Cross Country Canada to the playground where they competed in a fun relay race.

Ski tracks were set in the Altadore schoolyard for the students who are currently enjoying a week of introductory cross-country ski instruction courtesy of the Foothills Nordic Ski at School program – a local initiative to deliver cross-country skiing opportunities to students in Calgary area schools each winter.

“What pride we will feel as a country watching our talented athletes representing Canada at the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi,” said  Joan Crockatt, Member of Parliament (Calgary-Centre). “With your talent and determination, you will have us holding our breath as you outdo yourselves facing some of the world’s greatest cross-country skiers. We are very proud of you! Best of luck with final preparations and good luck!”

Led by Beckie Scott’s first-ever medal for Canada in the sport of cross-country skiing at the 2002 Olympics when she skied to the gold, Canada has three Olympic medals in total. Scott also won a silver in the team sprint with Sara Renner in 2006 – the same year Chandra Crawford won the gold medal in the skate-sprint race.

The Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games will take place from February 7-23, 2014. The Canadian Olympic Team has set a goal to contend for the top spot in overall medals won.

 List of cross-country ski athletes nominated to the Sochi 2014 Canadian Olympic Team:

Women:    
First Last Hometown
Chandra Crawford Canmore, AB
Daria Gaiazova Banff, AB
Emily Nishikawa Whitehorse, YK
Perianne Jones Almonte, ON
Heidi Widmer Banff, AB
     
Men:    
First Last Hometown
Alex Harvey St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC
Devon Kershaw Sudbury, O
Ivan Babikov Canmore, AB
Lenny Valjas Toronto, ON
Graeme Killick Fort MacMurray, AB
Jesse Cockney Canmore, AB


These 11 cross-country skiers now join 10 speed skaters, 10 Curling athletes, 16 bobsledders, seven lugers, four skeleton athletes, 21 women hockey players, eight biathletes, five snowboarders, 25 men hockey players, three skiers and 17 figure skaters, as the next members on the Canadian Olympic Team. Up to seven more teams will be announced between now and February.