Yukon cross-country skier Dahria Beatty helped ski the Canadian women’s team to its best Olympic 4×5 relay finish in 20 years on Feb. 12.
As Beatty declared in a social media post: “Ninth place for us today in the 4×5 relay! Best Canadian women’s Olympic relay result since we all got inspired to start ski racing watching the Canadian women at the 2002 Olympics! Proud of these girls!”
In 2002, the women’s team finished eighth in the 4×5 relay.
This time around, the team finished less than a second behind eighth for ninth place, with a combined race time of 57:20.9, Nordiq Canada noted in a press release following the race at the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing.
Beatty finished her leg with a time of 15:01.6, while Cendrine Brown had the fastest time on the team at 13:17.0. Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt finished with a time of 13:57.8 and Katherine Stewart-Jones finished her leg in 15:04.5.
Stewart-Jones was first out of the gate for Canada, skiing a steady five kilometres before passing off to Beatty in 10th spot, Nordiq Canada stated. Beatty, who is at her second Olympics, moved up two spots before completing her five km.
“I just tried to empty the tank out there and give it all I had. I had China to catch at the beginning and saw Japan in the distance and tried to reel them in,” said Beatty. “There was a new pack well out in front of me that was a big group. I did a solo time trial out there and gave it all I had. It was a great result for the team.”
Browne then skied a steady third leg to hang onto the eighth spot before tagging Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt for the anchor portion of the race, Nordiq Canada said.
“Katherine got us in good position and Dahria skied really well. When she tagged me, my job was to keep the gap. I was able to do that,” Browne said. “We were aiming for top eight. Olivia skied really strong. I’m so proud of our entire team.”
Bouffard-Nesbitt held on to eighth spot until the final kilometre of the race when she battled the last Italian skier through to the finishing stretch, but was edged out at the line. Italy finished with a combined time of 3:39.5.
“It was such a privilege to be racing with this team,” Bouffard-Nesbitt said. “I was so impressed with my teammates. They did everything they could and I so badly wanted that eighth-place for the team. It was tough at the end. I could feel Italy on me. I tried to use whatever tactics I had left to play with in last 400 metres.
“She was a little too strong for me in last 50 metres, but I think ninth by four-tenths shows eighth was a realistic goal and all of the girls did exactly what we needed to do.”
Athletes representing the Russian Olympic Committee won the women’s relay with a time of 53:41.0. Germany took silver at 53:59.2, while Sweden skied to the bronze medal with a time of 54:01.7.
Next up for women’s cross-country skiing is the team sprint classic style event on Feb. 16. A start list has not yet been published.
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