Biathlon Canada Names 2016 National Squad
—Determined group focused on putting more athletes on World Cup podium—
CANMORE, Alta.—Feeding off the most successful season in the organization’s history, Biathlon Canada named an experienced group of four athletes to its elite A squad that will compete on the World Cup for the 2015-16 season, and eight more athletes that will form its B squad.
Led by Calgary’s Nathan Smith, who had a breakthrough season in 2015 becoming the first Canadian male to win a medal at the World Biathlon Championships and a gold medal weeks later at a World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, Canada will send two men and two women all with podium potential onto the World Cup this year.
Smith will be joined by Brendan Green (Hay River, N.W.T.) in the men’s race. Green set a record for knocking down 50 straight targets this year, and posted a career-best fifth place finish on the World Cup.
Two-time Olympians, Rosanna Crawford (Canmore) and Megan Heinicke (Prince George, B.C.) will form a one-two punch in women’s World Cup competitions this year. Crawford came agonizingly close to hopping onto her first career World Cup podium with a number of top-five finishes including a career-best fourth-place result in Pokljuka, Slovenia.Henicke will also be back as Canada’s biathletes continue to build in its quest for the podium in Pyeongchang 2018. Heinicke enjoyed a memorable season of her own after posting a number of top-15 finishes.
“Depth is critical to mounting an attack on the medals, and each athlete on this team has knocked on the door of the World Cup podium,” said Chris Lindsay, high-performance director, Biathlon Canada. “This is a now a veteran group of experienced athletes that knows if we are firing on all cylinders – medals are possible every time we put on the skis.”
The governing body for biathlon in Canada also announced eight athletes to its B Squad that will split time on the IBU Cup and World Cup circuits. Athletes include: Sarah Beaudry (Prince George, B.C.); Macx Davies (Canmore, Alta.); Christian Gow (Calgary); Scott Gow (Calgary); Emma Lunder (Canmore, Alta.); Scott Perras (Regina); Julia Ransom (Kelowna, B.C.); and Audrey Vaillancourt (Quebec).
“This team of athletes is the deepest in the history of the Canadian biathlon program,” added Lindsay. “Each of these athletes have achieved success at varioius levels of their development, demonstrating the development system we have in place – graduating athletes out of their provinces and moving to the National Training Centre where they are centralized with the best biathletes in Canada is creating a culture of excellence that is creating more medal contenders in our country.”
Biathlon Canada also named its next generation of Olympians to its 2018 and 2022 Squads. Carsen Campbell (Central Bedeque, P.E.I.), Stuart Harden (Calgary), and Aidan Millar (Canmore, Alta.) will form the 2018 Team.
Megan Bankes (AB), Emily Dickson (BC), Alexandre Dupuis (ON), Pearce Hanna (AB), Nadia Moser (YK), Mathew Strum (AB), and Leilani Tam Von Burg (ON) will make up the 2022 Squad.
Canada’s top biathletes will compete in a World Cup on home snow for the first time in six years when the Canmore Nordic Centre welcomes the world February 1, 2016.