Audrey Vaillancourt and Nathan Smith Steal Show at North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships

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March 19, 2013, Whistler, BC (ISN) – National Team athletes, Audrey Vaillancourt and Nathan Smith, stole the show for the third straight day at the North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships, winning the women’s and men’s mass starts events in Whistler, B.C.

Quebec’s Vaillancourt took advantage of a perfect day on range in an event that punishes athletes with a one-minute penalty for every missed shot to win her third straight women’s national title of the week. The 21-year-old Vaillancourt clocked a golden time of 34:54.0 in the women’s 12.5-kilometre mass start competition.

Vaillancourt edged out World Cup teammate, Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C. in a sprint to the finish. Heinicke, who missed just one shot, settled for the silver with a time of 34:54.2. Corrine Malcolm, of the United States, climbed onto the podium for the second time this week, claiming the bronze medal at 36:38.2 (1+0+1+0).

Emma Lodge, of Canmore, Alta., won the junior women’s 10-kilometre mass start event. The 20 year old, who is a third-year junior on the national squad, missed three targets in four bouts of shooting to post a time of 31:18.8.

Meanwhile, Calgary’s Nathan Smith bounced back after he was knocked off the top of the podium with a 30 second penalty in the pursuit race to win Tuesday’s 15-kilometre men’s mass start.

Smith, 27, hammered the field by nearly one minute after crossing the finish line in a time of 37:53.0 (1+0+0+2). Marc-André Bédard, of Valcartier, Que., was the next best in the field, celebrating the silver medal with a time of 38:37.9 (0+0+4+0). American Bill Bowler rounded out the men’s podium at 39:20.0 (0+1+2+1).

“I missed that first shot prone and was a little concerned, but after that I felt comfortable and in control,” said Smith, who added snow conditions were icy but calm winds made for ideal shooting conditions. “I know I didn’t win the pursuit race, but I feel like I’m in great shape and accomplished what I came here to do.”

Macx Davies, of Canmore, Alta., won his third junior men’s national title in as many races this week. Davies captured the gold this time in the junior men’s 12.5-kilometre mass start after stopping the clock at 32:03.0 (0+1+2+2).

The North American and Canadian Biathlon Championships is the first event in the inaugural Sea to Sky Nordic Festival being held at Whistler Olympic Park. For the first time in Canadian history, the four Nordic disciplines’ championships will be carried out together at one venue. The spectacular winter season finale will brings together more than 800 athletes for two weeks of competition at the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic venue.

The biathlon competitions conclude on Wednesday with the relays.

Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country, and oversees the Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Millennium Geomatics Ltd., Apogée Sports, Kama, Roeckl Gloves, Lapua, USANA, and Adidas Eyewear – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.

Complete Canadian Championship Results: www.zone4.ca

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