(ISN) – OSLO, Nor.—Canada’s men’s biathlon squad narrowly missed the podium while posting a fifth place finish in the 4×7.5 kilometre World Cup relay on Sunday in Oslo, Norway. It was the best ever relay finish in the history of the program for the Canadian men who continue to knock on the door of the elite podium.
Three Calgary boys, Christian Gow, Nathan Smith and Scott Gown led the charge for the Canadians before handing off to Brendan Green, of Hay River, N.W.T. who brought the Canadians home to a historic finish with a time of 1:17:52.4.
“Today was a really strong race for the team. We each executed solid performances during our legs of the relay, and the end result was a personal best day for Canada,” said veteran Brendan Green. “I think we all knew that we had the potential for a good result, and being able to bring out our best today in the last race before World Championships is really positive for the team.”
Russia set the pace for the men’s race, winning with a time of 1:16:16.6. Germany was second at 1:16:16.8, while Austria secured the bronze at 1:17:07.5.
With the Gow brothers continuing to post career-best results, along with Smith and Green, taking their turns pushing for their first World Cup medal, the Canadians are capturing the world’s attention with a handful of top-five finishes.
“We’re all really happy with today’s result and are looking forward to what the rest of the season will bring, especially with World Championships fast approaching,” added Green. “It’s been a lot of racing over the last month. We’re all a little tired and looking forward to a short and well deserved break before starting our pre World’s training camp in a few days.”
The Canadian woman have also been rattling off a series of stellar results. Led by Olympic veterans Megan Heinicke, of Prince George, B.C., and Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta., two rising starts in Quebec’s Audrey Vaillancourt and Sarah Beaudry, of Prince George, B.C. joined the female Canucks to finish eighth at 1:13:56.
The team from the Czech Republic won the women’s 4×6 kilometre race with a time f 1:11:10.6. Italy was second at 1:11:38.9, while France crossed the finish line in the bronze-medal position with a time of 1:11:56.5.
The relay consists of each athlete skiing 7.5 kilometres (men) or 6 kilometres (women) with two bouts of shooting. The first starter of each team begins in a simultaneous mass start with other participants, and complete their leg before handing off to the next teammate. Competitors in the relay each carry three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds, the spares may be used, which takes more time because they are loaded by hand.