Gow leads three Canadians into top-30
Thursday, Feb 22, 2018 06:00 am
Scott Gow came within a hair of cracking the top eight, and a return to form saw him leading the Canadians in the 20-kilometre men’s individual race, Thursday (Feb. 15) at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Battling for the best result of his career, Gow had shot clean heading into the final round of shooting, where he found himself in 10th. Methodically, he knocked down four targets in a row – and just missed the fifth.
“The race went really well today. It was almost perfect shooting and I felt fairly good on my skis. I’m more than happy with my result, but I do wish I had hit that 20th shot,” Gow said.
It’s the best individual race result of Gow’s career (which was previously a 17th-place in Antholz) and a brilliant comeback after a subpar sprint race, where he finished 61st. He was 2:02 behind winner Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway. Had Gow hit that last target, he would have likely finished seventh.
“I tried to put the sprint behind me and refocus on my race plan for the individual. I knew I needed good shooting for a good result, so my focus the past few days has been regaining confidence in the range,” Gow said.
The hilly course is challenging, which made shooting speed and accuracy extra important. The individual race replaces penalty loops with one-minute time penalties for missed shots.
“The course has been in great shape, but it’s very challenging. It was very important to have a race plan for how to pace,” Gow said.
Brendan Green had a return to form, also shooting 19/20 to finish 22nd – his best result of the year. Green was flirting with the top-10 until he also missed a shot in his last trip to the range.
“Overall, I’m quite happy. The weather here in PyeongChang has been challenging since we arrived, with very strong winds and cold temperatures. We finally had a break in the weather today and I feel like I was able to capitalize on that in the race,” said Green.
“My ski speed hasn’t quite been where I had hoped it would be coming into the Olympics, so today I knew that my ticket to a good result would come through a very shooting focused race. I think today as a whole was more representative of the type of results we are capable of as a team.”
Christian Gow was the third Canadian to crack the top-30. He had similar ski speed to his older brother Scott, but missed two targets to finish 26th.
“I am really happy to be back up there,” Christian Gow said. “I felt strong skiing – much better than I did in the sprint – and the shooting was decent as well. It felt great to have a good day on skis and I’m very happy to have a new personal best in the individual.”
Christian said the course rewards fitness, and he was happy to show he’s got more speed to burn.
“It is a really challenging course. I don’t think there is any trick to it. You just have to work all the time and hope that you are fit enough to make it through the 20 kilometres,” Christian Gow said.
Nathan Smith missed five and finished 81st to round out the Canadians.
Boe bested Jakov Fak of Slovenia, who won silver, while Dominik Landertinger of Austria finished third. France’s Martin Fourcade, the heavy favourite, finished fifth after missing two targets in his last trip to the range.
Biathlon Canada coach Matthias Ahrens said there was no secret to Scott Gow’s strong performance.
“Efficient shooting – high score with good shooting speed and also decent ski time for Scott,” Ahrens said.