December 12, 2013, ANNECY-LE GRAND BORNAND, Fra. (ISN) – Just two months removed from the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, a foursome of Canadian biathlon women shocked the world with a stellar fourth-place finish in a World Cup relay in Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France on Thursday.
Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., Megan Imrie, of Falcon Lake, Man., Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., and Zina Kocher, of Red Deer, Alta., joined forces to chalk up the best-ever result for a Canadian women’s biathlon squad, placing fourth in the 4 x 6 kilometre relay with a time of 1:08:03.6.
“I am so proud of these girls,” said the 27-year-old Imrie. “I have witnessed each and every one of them train through blood, sweat and tears to the breaking point. We are fit. We are hungry for results and this isn’t the last you have seen of us.”
Imrie and Rosanna Crawford both enjoyed some of the best results of their careers in the opening two races of the season.
“We’ve known this type of result is within our grasp for so long so it feels great to finally get it,” added Crawford. “Our whole support system has really helped us get here, coaches, wax techs and everyone behind us!”
Germany captured the gold with a time of 1:06:27.8. Ukraine climbed to the silver-medal step of the podium at 1:06:51.1, while Norway grabbed the bronze medal with a time of 1:06:51.6.
Relay competitors begin in a mass start and ski two kilometres, shoot prone, ski second two kilometre leg, shoot standing and then the final two kilometres before tagging off to the next team member.
Each competitor carries three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds the spares may be used. With the intense pressure of the relay, competitors may shoot extremely fast, and get away quickly if all targets are hit. If they are not hit, the spare rounds must be loaded individually hand, requiring more time.
The four Canadian women have come a long way since taking off their clothes four years ago to produce a nude calendar, Bold Beautiful Biathlon, in an effort to raise money in support of their journey to the international podium. Since that time each of the athletes have produced career-best results, and head into the 2014 Olympic Winter Games deeper and stronger than ever.
The result secured the 25-year-old Megan Heinicke’s ticket to Russia where she’ll now join Imrie, Crawford and the 31-year-old Zina Kocher on the women’s team.
Kocher is the only woman on the current national squad to win a World Cup medal. The two-time Olympian accomplished the feat when she claimed the bronze medal in Oestersund, Sweden in 2006.
“I couldn’t be more proud of all of us finally pulling together what we knew was possible” said Kocher. “To perform together as a team is an incredible satisfying and rewarding experience. It’s not the same as performing as an individual. This joint successful effort has brought us all together to be stronger and more confident than ever before.”
The Canadian Biathlon Team has slowly been firing their way under the radar to international respectability. Led by Jean-Philippe Le Guellec’s historic World Cup victory one year ago where he became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup medal in biathlon in Sweden, Canada’s men’s and women’s biathletes have taken their turns posting career-best results.
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 Sports, Lapua, USANA, Nordic Marksman Inc, 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 Results: http://services.biathlonresults.com/DataCenter_IBU.aspx
Top-Five Women Results:
1. Germany, 1:06:27.8; 2. Ukraine, 1:06:51.1; 3. Norway, 1:06:51.6; 4. Canada – Rosanna Crawford, Canmore, Alta., Zina Kocher, Red Deer, Alta., Megan Imrie, Falcon Lake, Man., Megan Heinicke, Prince George, B.C., 1:08:03.6; 5. France, 1:08:11.6.