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Canada claims historic result in men’s biathlon relay

Canadian biathletes made history in Beijing.

BEIJING – The achievement for Canada's best-ever Olympic result in the men's biathlon relay was unlocked on Tuesday (Feb. 15) in Beijing.

Canada’s Scott Gow gained four spots in the final leg of the race and shot 10-for-10 to claim the historic sixth spot in the 4x7.5 kilometre at a time of 1:21:46.5.

"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."

Norway won gold at a time of 1:19:50.2, France took silver (1:20:17.6), and Russia brought home bronze (1:20:35.6).

The Canadian team (2+9) consisting of Scott Gow, Christian Gow, Adam Runnalls and Jules Burnotte beat Canada’s previous best record of seventh place at Sochi 2014.

The best result ever for the men’s team was bronze at the 2016 world championships. It was a team the Gows were part of with Nathan Smith and Brendan Green.

“It is different from the World Championships in 2016 because that day was basically perfect and took all of us by surprise,” said Christian. “We went into this race knowing we wanted to fight for a podium and were clear about that. We didn't make it which stings, but we did what we could on the day and showed that we are a threat even without a perfect day.”

Participating at his first Olympics, Runnalls started things off for the Canucks, shooting 1+4 and only doing one 150-metre penalty loop before tagging Christian in 11th place.

But after the first trip to the range, Christian sliced into that deficit with clean shooting and bolted the Canadians up to sixth place. However, during his next trip to the range, Christian had to ski one penalty loop after shooting 1+3.

“You never want to be in the penalty loop, but with windy conditions, my plan was to shoot without hesitation, which I did,” said Christian. “I ended up leaving with the same group I entered with so feel that I mitigated the damage. I was happy with how I felt on skis and my tactics on the track.”

Christian handed things off to Burnotte in ninth place for the third leg.

Also making his Olympics debut, Burnotte shot impressively at 0+2 to keep the Canucks close and tagged anchor Scott in 10th spot.

The final Canadian wasted little time gaining ground on the competition with clean shooting in both trips to the range. In the final 100 metres to the finish line, Scott held off Italy and Belarus' final press to claim Canada's best ever result in the relay.

This story was updated on Feb. 16.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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