Julia Ransom, pictured here at the Canmore Nordic Centre in 2016, finished 40th in the 7.5-km sprint in PyeongChang on Saturday (Feb. 10).
RMO FILE PHOTO
Amidst the focus on billion dollar spectacles, medal counts, and political statements, the Winter Olympics is about connectedness. High performance results pale in comparison to the communities forged, and family bonds strengthened by the celebration.
Biathlete Julia Ransom experienced that first hand Saturday (Feb. 10) in PyeongChang. Her Olympic debut was not the breakthrough she wanted – no athlete dreams of finishing 40th at the Olympics – but she still had a day she'll never forget.
After her first Olympic race, Ransom climbed into the stands to be with her tightest support crew for a “family powwow.”
“It was incredible starting my first Olympic race. My face hurt from smiling so much! It was even more special to share the day with my mom, dad, brother and sister and law, and (boyfriend) Haakon … there were a lot of hugs, tears and smiles,” Ransom said.
On course, Ransom battled windy conditions to lead the Canadian women with a 40th place finish in the 7.5-km sprint in PyeongChang, South Korea.
The 26-year-old shot 9/10 on a day when many of the world's top athletes struggled in the range. Ransom's patented ski speed wasn't there, but she still managed to gut her way into the top 20.
“The race itself was not bad with only one miss. Unfortunately my legs were a little cooked and I didn't have the spark I was hoping for,” Ransom said.
The steep climbs and screaming descents challenged the field, but not as much as the swirling winds in the range. Several medal favourites were bested by the wind, opening the door for upsets.
Rosanna Crawford missed three targets to finish 53rd, and said swirling winds made it near impossible to have a good day on the range. She was followed by teammate Emma Lunder in 54th. It was Lunder, one of Canmore's biathlon baristas, debut. Megan Tandy finished 57th.
All four Canadian women qualified for the pursuit, but will be in tough to climb the standings, and crack the top-30 needed to reach the mass start.
Germany's Laura Dahlmeier was one of only three athletes to shoot clean, which was enough to carry her to her first Olympic gold medal. Marte Olsbu of Norway took silver, while Veronika Vitkova of the Czech Republic won bronze.