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Olympian Dahria Beatty finding form in Beijing

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

BEIJING – Personal bests aren't safe around Dahria Beatty right now.

The star cross-country skier has upped her game at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics Games, skiing some of her fastest in years and repeatedly finding a home inside the top-30.

"I am super happy to be having my best races of the season so far here at the Olympics," Beatty wrote to the Outlook.

"The courses are super tough but I really like the way they ski."

The two-time Olympian from Whitehorse who moved to Canmore a decade ago to pursue athletic glory is four-for-four in smashing Olympics bests (three individual, one team), which started in the 15-kilometre skiathlon on Feb. 5.

In a race she's struggled in throughout her career, Beatty raced impressively to 28th spot in the event that mixes classic and skating techniques.

After a difficult patch the past couple seasons, the strong start at the most important races of the year set the tone early for the Yukon's finest over the two-week Beijing stint.

The sprint race followed, which historically is Beatty's ace event, but one the 27-year-old has dogged over in recent years – missing the heats at the past three world championships and at 2018 PyeongChang.

Beijing, however, was a different story. Beatty charged out of the gates in the 1.5 km course on Feb. 8 and left it all out there to finally find the top 30 at a major event and advance to the heats. She was just edged out of moving to the semifinals after the first elimination style heat and finished 25th overall.

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

The sprints and individual have been Beatty's shining moments so far in China.

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

Two days later, the 4X5km relay got underway and Canada's women skillfully skied into ninth place.

The team of Beatty, Katherine Stewart-Jones, Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt and Cendrine Browne finished at a time of 57:20.9 – barely edged out of eighth by Italy, which clocked in at 57:20.5.

The top 10 relay 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.

"Proud of the whole team [on Feb. 12] for putting in a great performance to take 9th in the relay," Beatty said.

Beatty previously spoke to the Outlook about the challenges brought on by COVID-19 over the past few seasons, which resulted in a dip in her world cup and world championship results.

But putting on her strongest Games performance to date, and two more events still to come including her favourite race the team sprint, things look to be peaking at exactly the right time.

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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