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Confidence shoots up in Beijing with Gow's big day in biathlon

Scott Gow was one shot away from a silver medal.

BEIJING – Scott Gow was one shot away from a silver medal.

It’s something every biathlete does after the individual: check stats in the race that adds one minute onto your final time for every missed shot and see where you would have placed if you shot clean.

In what was a historic Olympic race for Gow, placing fifth, the best-ever result for a Canadian in individual, 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 Gow, 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.”

Gow crossed the finish line at 49:53.0 in Feb. 8's 20-kilometre race, 1:05.6 behind gold medallist Quentin Fillon Maillet (18/20) of France at 48:47.4.

Second place was taken by Anton Smolski (20/20) of Belarus, who clocked in at 49:02.2. Third place was Johanne Thingnes Boe (18/20) of Norway.

RELATED: Scott Gow: Bow Valley's Beijing Bound Athletes

Canadians Christian Gow, Scott’s younger brother, finished 24th on 18/20 shooting, Adam Runnalls (17/20) was 33rd and Jules Burnotte (17/20) was 36th.

“A lot of people I was shooting with were quite fast and that’s something we’ve been working on for the past two or three years now with our shooting coach Pavel [Lanstov],” said Gow.

“The biggest challenge [Tuesday] was the desire to deviate and try to almost force something to happen in terms of good shooting. Sometimes that almost stops you from doing what you know you need to do.”

The older Gow brother was on fire, with 95 per cent efficient on the range at the Zhangjiakou National Biathlon Centre and skiing with enough reserves in the tank to punch it hard to the finish.

Racing on man-made snow, the trials are a tougher ski for racers, mainly due to the lack of recovery periods skiers can rest on. It’s also about 250 metres higher altitude than at the Canmore Nordic Centre, where the national biathlon team trains.

Confidence is up in the Canadian camp, especially with the men’s relay still to come on Feb. 15 at 2 a.m. MST.

The team was already on a high heading into the Games after placing fifth in the final world cup of January.

“We’re feeling pretty good about that,” said Gow. “All four of us did really well [on Feb. 8] … With the shooting we’re doing right now there’s a lot of potential when we get to that race and that event so we’ll be looking to capitalize big time.”

There are eight more individual and team biathlon races remaining in Beijing including the women's sprint on Feb. 11 at 2 a.m. and men's sprint on Feb. 12 at 2 a.m.

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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