(ISN) – FALUN, Swe.—Alex Harvey has skied into the Canadian record books, becoming the first cross-country ski athlete to win two medals at a World Championship event. And there are plenty more races to come before the close of the 2015 Nordic World Ski Championships in Sweden.
Harvey, a resident of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., followed up a silver-medal performance in the sprint race on opening day by capturing the bronze in a grueling skiathlon on Saturday.
“It’s a great day for me. Hard to believe,” said Harvey of his historic finish following the race. In the men’s skiathlon, athletes complete a 15-kilometre course on classic skis before making a timed transition and head off for another 15 kilometres on skate skis. “The skis were fantastic. I had really good training over the summer, and I think the wax team are doing such a great job, it’s hard for me not to be on the podium these days.”
It’s no coincidence that Harvey set a new Canadian record with a skiathlon race; the competition is, admittedly, his favourite, combining what he considers to be the best elements of the sport of cross-country. “It’s a bit of classic, a bit of skating, mass start, a long distance,” he said.
Harvey stayed in the lead or close to the lead in both the classic and skate portions – but for two very different reasons. “In the classic, the skis were great and the body felt really good. In the skate, the skis were even better, but the body didn’t feel so good, so I tried to stay near the front to keep the pace pretty easy,” said Harvey. “I was trying to save everything for the last two kilometres. From the day I had Thursday, I knw that I could sprint well and close well. I was able to come back on the flat section, and I just held on in the downhill sections of that last two kilometres.”
The two people Harvey couldn’t catch were winner, Maxim Vylegzhanin, who crossed the line in 1:16.25.9 to capture gold, and Dario Cologna of Switzerland, who skied to silver, completing the course in 1:16:26.3, just ahead of Harvey’s time of 1:16.27.5.
It was the fourth World Championship medal of Harvey’s career. In addition to this week’s silver in the sprint, he won gold in the team sprint with Devon Kershaw in 2011, and finished third in the individual sprint race two years ago in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Two other Canadians also competed in the skiathlon Saturday, with Canmore’s Ivan Babikov finishing 23rd in the men’s race, and Perianne Jones, of Almonte, Ont., finishing 37th in the shorter women’s race.
Norway’s Therese Johaug won the women’s race.
Fans across Canada will be able to follow the action at the World Championships with both live and video on demand highlights through an innovative new partnership initiated by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association and Cross Country Canada. Every cross country, nordic combined and ski jumping event will be streamed live on www.cccski.com, as well as through the official Falun2015 Live Arena app.
CCC 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 60,000 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 Inc., AltaGas, Mackenzie Investments and Statoil – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium and B2Ten, CCC develops Olympic, Paralympic and world champions. For more information on CCC, please visit us at www.cccski.com.
Complete Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/falun2015/
Top-5 Men and Canadian Results:
1. Maxim Vylegzhanin, RUS, 1:16:25.9; 2. Dario Cologna, SUI, 1:16:26.3; 3. Alex Harvey, St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., 1:16:27.5; 4. Didrik Toenseth, NOR, 1:16:29.3; 5. Maurice Manificat, FRA, 1:16:36.1
Other Canadian Results:
23. Ivan Babikov, Canmore, Alta., 1:19:09.7
Top-5 Women and Canadian Results:
1. Therese Johaug, NOR, 40:57.6; 2. Astrid Uhrenholdt, NOR, 41:03.3; 3. Charlotte Kalla, SWE, 41:03.6; 4. Kerttu Niskanen, FIN, 42:03.3; 5. Sofia Bleckur, SWE, 42:05.0
37. Perianne Jones, Almonte, Ont., 46:08.6