Canadian biathlete Scott Gow knows how to sprint.
The 27-year-old now has a pair of top-20 results in the discipline, matching his personal best 16th-place finish in Oestersund, Sweden, with the same result in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France.
Gow credits a pre-race training camp to his hot start this year, and is staying in Europe over the holidays for another mini camp to boost his performance.
“It’s been a good few weeks so far. My camp in Susjoen was successful and gave me the pre-season warmup I needed to perform well right away, in week one of the world cup,” Gow said.
The man they call Thor (until he traded some muscle mass for speed) said it was important to start the year strong, and thus far the new strategy has paid off.
“I’m normally slow to start every year, and this year I started on solid footing and hit a personal best right away in the first week. My shooting faltered a bit in week two, but my skiing was still strong, and by week three I felt like I was firing on all cylinders,” Gow said.
Gow shot clean in the sprint on Dec. 15 to lead the Canadians, as he finished 31 seconds ahead of his younger brother Christian, who finished 30th. Brendan Green struggled in the range, while Nathan Smith was hit with fatigue to finish 86th and 91st, respectively.
“I matched my career best 16th-place and qualified for my second career mass start race, which is always a big goal for me. I’m going into the Christmas break with good confidence in my skiing and overall racing, and some areas to improve with respect to my shooting,” Gow said.
Gow followed up his 16th-place finish with a 27th in the pursuit and 26th in the mass start. His clean shooting vanished, which is something he will work on as the season continues.
Canada will send five men to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang. The Gows, Green and Smith all appear to have shown enough to earn a trip, while Macx Davies and Carsen Campbell have shown promise on the IBU circuit.