March 30, 2013, Whistler, BC (ISN) – Brent McMurtry will leave his cross-country ski career standing on top of the podium on the final day of the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals on Saturday.
One of the most respected athletes on the National Ski Team, the 26-year-old Calgarian was the top Canadian in 50-kilometre skate-ski marathon when he clocked a time of 2:04:55.6.
“It is an amazing sport and I’m just so super honoured to have represented Canada,” said McMurtry. “It is pretty special to end it here at the site of my one and only Olympics. I’m proud to be an alumni of the National Ski Team and will now root for my friends, and hope they win a pile of medals next year in Sochi.”
McMurtry, who will now pursue a degree in engineering, finished .4 seconds behind American Torin Koos, but international athletes cannot win medals at the Canadian Championships.
McMurtry was joined on the podium by fellow Calgarian, Kevin Sandau, who was second at 2:04:56.9. Brian McKeever, of Canmore, Alta., grabbed his second medal of the week after skiing to the bronze with a time of 2:04:57.3.
It was the third gold medal this week for McMurtry, who also won the 15-kilometre individual classic ski race, and the team sprint with Jesse Cockney.
“It was definitely the highlight of my career to race here at the Olympics. It was a phenomenal experience that I will never forget and something I always dreamed about,” said McMurtry. “It is bittersweet to leave because we have such an amazing sport, but it is motivating to see all of the excitement in the Nordic community, and the strength of the guys on the World Cup Team. I feel momentum is growing for our sport and that is really, really cool. I’m leaving but I’ll be a skier for life. I do hope to stay involved somehow in the future.”
Meanwhile, Canadian biathlete and two-time Olympian Zina Kocher, finished as the top Canuck in the women’s 30-kilometre skate-ski race. The 30-year-old Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., clocked a time of 1:19:31.4.
“It feels pretty awesome. I always wanted to do a long distance race and it was really fun,” said Kocher, who was competing in her first cross-country ski national championships. “It was really hot out there and I didn’t know if I would make it but I did. I had to dump a lot of water and Gatorade over my head when I could.”
Kocher suited up in one cross-country skiing World Cup race this winter.
Heidi Widmer, of Banff, Alta., was second at 1:20:32.4. Brittany Webster, of Caledon, Ont., placed third – 4:11.2 off the leading mark set by Switzerland’s Bettina Gruber, posted the fastest women’s time at 1:18:41.1.
Raphael Couturier, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., won the junior men’s 30-kilometre skate-ski race with a time of 1:18:15.4. Cendrine Browne, of St. Jerome, Que., won the junior women’s 20-kilometre race after stopping the clock at 54:47.7.
In Para-Nordic racing, it was Chris Klebl, of Canmore, Alta., who won the men’s 10-kilometre sit-ski race with a time of 31:10.7. Emily Suchy, of Revelstoke, B.C., won the women’s 7.5-kilometre sit-ski title at 24:31.4.
Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada, which is the nation’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than one million Canadians participating annually. Its 55,000 members include athletes, coaches, officials and skiers of all ages and abilities, including those on Canada’s National Ski Teams and Para-Nordic Ski Teams. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Haywood Securities, AltaGas, Statoil and Canadian Pacific – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2ten, Cross Country Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on Cross Country Canada, please visit us at www.cccski.com.
Complete Haywood Ski Nationals Results: www.zone4.ca