HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA
As it turns out, Pelly Crossing’s Danielle Marcotte was the perfect choice for Yukon’s flagbearer at the opening ceremony of the Canada Winter Games this week in Halifax.
First, she led Team Yukon into the ceremony on Friday.
Now together with her sister Kyley Marcotte, Danielle is leading the way in the accumulation of hardware.
Putting their steady hands and sharp eyes into practice, the two sisters won gold in the women’s air pistol team event on Tuesday in Sackville, just outside Halifax. The two sisters, who make up the territory’s entire target shooting squad, are now the first Yukoners to climb podium steps at this year’s Games.
“I’m so happy, I don’t know what to say right now,” said Danielle. “When I came off the line I wasn’t feeling very good. Then when I got the results back I didn’t know what to do. Then my dad grabbed me and gave me a big hug and that’s when it set in. We actually did it.
“It’s really exciting because Kyley is with me and we both won; it wasn’t just me, or it wasn’t just her.”
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“It’s awesome. I didn’t think I’d get that because I didn’t do good on my first target at all,” said Kyley. “It was only my second time being paired with my sister. I’m glad I was paired up with her because she’s good at shooting.”
The final shots from the two, shooting 40 each over the competition, turned out to be important ones. Together, the sisters produced a score of 710, matching a pair from BC. Operating under a “countback” system, judges broke the tie by going through the scores, starting at the end, searching for a discrepancy between the Yukon and BC shooters, giving the gold to the better shot.
“I’m at a loss for words – I’m very proud. It’s beyond belief, I’m just so proud of them,” said coach and father Darcy Marcotte. “Danielle didn’t have as good of a shoot today; she came off struggling. Kyley did awesome.
“I didn’t know what to expect. I was hoping they’d at least be in the medals. The first thing I did was look at third place and down, and I didn’t see them. Then I looked up and they were at the top. I pretty much quit breathing on the spot.”
The Games are far from over for the Marcotte sisters. On Thursday the two will be reloading for the women’s individual pistol shoot event. Increased confidence levels aside, the Marcottes are strong hopefuls for medals, taking into account their individual performances on Tuesday.
Ranked individually, Danielle, 18, finished third overall with 360 points, just six points from the leader, while Kyley, 15, took seventh with 350.
“I was really nervous, but after today I will feel better for Thursday,” said Danielle. “I was so nervous because I always travel with a team, Team Canada, and now I travel here and it’s just little old Yukon. I was actually more nervous here than I’ve been in a lot of places. “
“I feel more confident about it because I didn’t know how to feel when I first walked in here,” said Kyley. “But now I feel pretty great.”
This is Danielle’s second Canada Games. She also represented the Yukon in 2007, placing fourth.
It has been a fruitful year for the sharpshooter. Last February, Danielle won gold at the 2010 International Grand Prix air-gun competition in the women’s international juniors division. At the event she logged the high score among all juniors competing in the two-day event.
In May, she won gold at the Maple Leaf Open Air Gun Championships in Leduc, Alberta.
Last August, Danielle was the only Yukoner on the Canadian team at the first-ever Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, finishing fourth in the junior women’s event.
In their first team event together – and Kyley’s first-ever competition – the sisters won gold at the 2011 Canadian Grande Prix air-gun competition last month in Toronto. At the shoot, Danielle won gold in the female international juniors category and also in the finals, while she finished first in the female sub junior category on the first day for a gold.
A former Junior Ranger, Danielle twice won the Junior Ranger Regional Air Rifle Championship, a competition between the three territories.
The medal also gave the Yukon a bit of a jump in medal standings at the Games. At press time on Tuesday, the Yukon moved up to eighth in the standings, ahead of Newfoundland and Labrador with a bronze, and NWT, Nova Scotia, Nunavut and PEI, each of which are still searching for their first medal. Leading the way is Quebec with 26 medals, ahead of Alberta with 18.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com.