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Bow Valley Olympians: recap of Beijing Games

Canada finished fourth overall in medals with 26 (four gold, eight silver, 14 bronze), tying with Vancouver 2010 for the country's second-most podiums at an Olympics.

BEIJING – Historic results, personal bests, and debuts highlighted the Bow Valley’s contingent at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games from Feb. 4-20.

Canada finished fourth overall in medals with 26 (four gold, eight silver, 14 bronze), tying with Vancouver 2010 for the country's second-most podiums at an Olympics. The most are 29 in PyeongChang 2018.

Norway led the way with 37 (16 gold, eight silver, 13 bronze) in Beijing. Russian athletes finished second overall with 32 (six gold, 12 silver, 14 bronze) and Germany was third with 27 (12 gold, 10 silver, five bronze).

Bow Valley athletes competed in six sports – alpine skiing, biathlon, cross-country skiing, mixed doubles curling, doubles luge, and speed skating. The closest solo athletes came to medals were biathlete Scott Gow, finishing fifth in the men's 20-kilometre individual; and speed skater Connor Howe, finishing fifth in the men's 1,500 metre long track race.


Competing at his third Games, Trevor Philp flew to 10th place in the men's super-G on Feb. 7, an individual Olympics-best for the 29-year-old former Banff Alpine Racer. The top-10 was Philp's top result in Beijing. 

“It felt good and a little messy,” said Philp in a press release. “I was inspired by Jack who charged so hard and made mistakes and wasn’t losing much time, so I knew that was the mentality I had to have.

“There were a few turns that you had to nail today, and it's such a fine line between risk and reward.”


A post shared by Trevor Philp (@twphilp)

Canmore's Erik Read wanted better results at his second Games. The technical specialist finished a Games-best 13th in men's giant slalom on Feb. 13. Philp finished 24th.

"[Feb. 13] was a tough day of ski racing," wrote Read on social media. "Who knew a place with under 5cm of annual snowfall would end up with a blizzard on the Olympic gs race day. A bit disappointed in my execution… I was aiming for higher than a 13th."

In men’s slalom on Feb. 15, Read finished 24th, but said he was proud of his racing.

In the final event, the mixed team parallel finals, Canada's four-person team, which featured Read and Philp, was defeated in the quarterfinals by Slovenia.


Canada's sharpshooters started off the Olympics with 14th place (3+17) in the 4X6km relay on Feb. 5.

On Feb. 7, Megan Bankes finished 33rd in the women’s 15km individual, shooting 18/20 in her Olympics debut. It was the 2017 world junior champion's best result in Beijing.

The next day, Scott Gow was one shot away from silver in the men's 20km race.

In what was a historic Olympic race for Biathlon Canada, Scott finished fifth, the best-ever result for a Canadian. He was one hit away at even more glory.

“Knowing if I had just hit that one miss, that 20th target, that would have been a podium is like, ‘Oh man, I could have done that,’” said Scott, a two-time Olympian. “But I could have just as easily missed more. Shooting 19-for-20 is a very good day and not a lot of people shot 20 [on Feb. 8].

“I’m just happy with the end result. I could have done a little better, but I’m not dwelling on it at the end.”


A post shared by Scott Gow (@scott.gow)

On Feb. 11, Emma Lunder finished 32nd in the women's biathlon sprint, which was her top result in Beijing. The two-time Olympian shot nine-for-10 in the 7.5km race.

The next day, Christian Gow flew to an Olympic-best 12th place in the men's sprint. Christian shot a blazing 10-for-10 in the 10km race and was 1:15.1 off the pace of the winner Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway.

"I really wanted to execute a race that shows what I'm capable of," Christian wrote to the Outlook. "My shooting was exactly what I wanted, fast and clean, and I did what I could skiing. I wish I'd had a bit more in the legs, but I was proud of the effort and result."

In the men's 12.5km pursuit on Feb. 13, Scott led all Canadians in 20th place and shot 16-for-20.

Canada’s Adam Runnalls was 30th (15/20), a personal best.

"Wow! That’s really all I can say," wrote Runnalls on social media. "I’m having the best racing of my career and it’s at the Olympics. A PB finish today with 30th in the pursuit, just amazing."

Then on Feb. 15, it was another historic day for Biathlon Canada when the men's 4x7.5km relay claimed sixth spot, an Olympic-best result, beating Canada’s previous best record of seventh place at Sochi 2014.

Consisting of Scott, Christian, Runnalls and Jules Burnotte, the foursome finished at a time of 1:21:46.5 (2+9).

"It was a hard race and challenging conditions today with the cold and the wind," Scott wrote to the Outlook. "I'm very happy with my leg. Any time I can ski well and shoot clean in conditions like this it's always a huge plus. I'm also very proud of the team. We had a plan going into the relay, and we stuck to it without overthinking the wind in the range or the slow snow out on the course. I think a lot of teams got wrapped up in the difficulty of the day, whereas we knew what to do and executed as well as we could."

On Feb. 16 in the women’s 4X6 km relay, Canada finished a season-best 10th place.

Consisting of Lunder, Bankes, Sarah Beaudry and Emily Dickson, the team finished at a time of 1:15:34.3. (0+8).

In biathlon's final events, the mass starts, on Feb. 18, Christian claimed 13th (17/20) in the men’s race while Burnotte finished an Olympic-best 18th (15/20).

Cross-country skiing

To kick off the Olympics, a trio of Canadians flew into the top 30 in women's 15km skiathlon at the opening cross-country event.

Cendrine Browne finished 20th, Katherine Stewart-Jones finished 23rd in her Olympic debut, which was also her top result in Beijing, and Dahria Beatty finished an individual Olympic-best 28th spot.

Making her Olympic debut, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt finished 44th.

In the men's 30km skiathlon, Canada’s Olivier Léveillé finished a team-best 31st in his Olympic debut.

On Feb. 8 in the sprint races, Beatty charged out of the gates in the 1.5 km course and left it all out there. The two-time Olympian was the only Canadian to advance to the top-30 heats, where she was just edged out of moving to the semifinals after the first elimination style heat and finished 25th overall.

Bouffard-Nesbitt finished an Olympic-best 40th in the sprint.

Riding the high of back-to-back top 30s, Beatty did one better in the 10km individual classic on Feb. 10, finishing 18th at a time of 30:00.2.

"Being in the sprint heats and breaking into the top 20 in an individual start race have been race highlights for me," Beatty said.

Léveillé was the top Canadian man, finishing 29th in the 15km classic.

On Feb. 12 in the women's 4X5 km relay, Canada's Beatty, Stewart-Jones, Bouffard-Nesbitt and Browne finished ninth at a time of 57:20.9 – barely edged out of eighth by Italy, which clocked in at 57:20.5.

The top 10 finish was the Canadian women's highest placing at the Olympics since 2002, when the youngsters were inspired by the likes of Beckie Scott, Sara Renner, Milaine Theriault and Amanda Fortier who finished eighth in Salt Lake City.

Canada finished 11th overall in the men's relay with the team consisting of Léveillé, Remi Drolet, Antoine Cyr and Graham Ritchie.

Then on Feb. 16, it was a historic day for Nordiq Canada as Cyr and Ritchie finished in fifth place, a Canadian men’s Olympic best.

In the mass starts, the close-out events for cross-country skiing on Feb. 19 and 20, Léviellé was once again Canada's top performing man, finishing an Olympic-best 27th in the 50km race.

In the women’s 30km mass start, Browne finished an Olympic-best 16th and Stewart-Jones was 30th.

Doubles luge

As Olympics No. 4 ended for Justin Snith, the 30-year-old doubles luger said it’s a bittersweet conclusion to what’s likely his final Games.

Snith, a 2018 silver medallist, placed seventh in doubles luge with teammate Tristan Walker of Cochrane, and sixth in team relay with single lugers Reid Watts and Trinity Ellis at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

“It’s bittersweet to walk away without an Olympic doubles medal or world championships medal, but we were close on both accounts, but it would have been nice to end the Olympic career with an exclamation point,” said Snith to the Outlook.

“But with the battles we’ve been through the last quad or last couple years, we can be proud with how we battled and fought back.”

Snith and Walker set the start record at the Yanqing National Sliding Centre track at 7.013.


A post shared by Justin Snith (@jsluge)

Mixed doubles curling

Canada was knocked out of medal contention by new Olympic champion Italy.

The Canucks, John Morris and Rachel Homan, lost 8-7 in an extra end in a do-or-die game on Feb. 8 before the playoffs.

Italy defeated Norway in the gold medal game and Sweden defeated Great Britain for bronze.


A post shared by John Morris (@johnnymo_7)

After his third Games concluded, two-time gold medallist and Canmore's Morris hinted Beijing might be his last Olympics as an athlete.

“Rachel will be back at the Olympics, no doubt, but this might be my last one as a player," said Morris, 43, in a Curling Canada blog post.

"I don’t have a lot left in the tank for another four-year run. But I still have gas in the tank this season. We’re flying home later this week, and I know we both can’t wait to see our families; it’s been a long spell away from them, and being around our kids really makes all the other troubles go away."

Speed skating

Making his Olympics debut, Canmore’s Connor Howe showed the future of Canada’s men’s speed skating is in good hands.

At 21, the former Banff Canmore Skating Club member finished fifth in the 1,500m, 12th in the 1,000m and Canada’s men’s Team Pursuit finished fifth.

After a medal wasn’t up for grabs, Howe sat out of the C final for Team Pursuit in order to rest and focus on the 1,000m.

In the 1,500m, Howe’s specialty race, he finished at a time of 1:44.86 – 0.62 seconds off a podium.

“I’m happy how I was able to execute one of my best races at my Olympic debut, with the extra pressure,” the long track specialist wrote to the Outlook. “I kept the skating relaxed as opposed to getting tight, so I was able to carry my speed pretty well to the end.”

Coming up next

The Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games take place between March 4-13, featuring Canmore's Brian McKeever (with guides Russell Kennedy and Graham Nishikawa) competing at his sixth and final Paralympics. With 17 medals to his name, McKeever is Canada’s most decorated winter Paralympian ever.

The 42-year-old was recently featured in Toyota’s Super Bowl ad with brother and coach Robin, showcasing their journey in “Brothers”.

Bow Valley Para nordic medal threats to watch:

Mark Arendz – Record holder for most medals won at a single Winter Paralympics with six (gold, two silver, three bronze) in men’s standing biathlon and cross-country. Winner of eight Paralympic medals in total.

Collin Cameron ­– Three-time Paralympic bronze medallist and world champion in sprint in men’s sit skiing.

Brittany Hudak – Paralympic bronze medallist in women’s standing biathlon.

Natalie Wilkie – Three-time Paralympic medallist (gold, silver, bronze) in women’s standing.

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