PRINCE GEORGE, B.C.
When Yukon biathlete Nadia Moser is a little off aim at the range, she gets mad. That anger turns into faster skiing.
And that’s how the biathlete won her second medal at the Canada Winter Games on Tuesday in Prince George, taking a bronze in the 7.5-kilometre sprint.
“I’m almost happier today because I was 100 per cent sure I had not won a medal,” said Moser in a news release. “My focus now is on tomorrow’s pursuit race.”
The race was thrilling, the wait uncomfortable. After the completion of the female event – which had an individual start – there was about a 90-minute wait for results. Yukon supporters, staff and athletes stood around making conversation, trying to not discuss potential results.
When they were finally posted, Moser and coach Yukon coach Dennis Peters exchanged smiles but remained fairly contained.
“I’m very excited,” admitted Peters. “We were timing all the other skiers coming in and we felt she was in third, unless we had missed someone coming in. Yah, it’s an exciting day.”
“Nadia is usually subdued,” he added. “Inside, I’m sure she’s thrilled.”
Moser finished the race with a time of 26:19.4, about 1:06 behind silver medalist Emily Dickson of B.C. and 2:01 behind Leilani Tam von Burg of Ontario, who won her second straight gold.
Moser hit six out of 10 at the range and two of her misses were “splits,” meaning the bullet was half on the target.
“In a race at this calibre, that’s going to happen some days,” said Peters. “There’s a lot of pressure on her to do well.”
Before the start of the competition this week, Yukon had never won a medal in biathlon at the Games. Now it has two.
Moser won Yukon’s first medal in Prince George on Sunday in the 12.5-kilometre individual race.
She was Yukon’s most popular person at the athlete’s village that night. Everywhere she went, people wanted to see the hardware.
“Every time I put it away, somebody else would ask to see it again,” Moser told the News.
“It’s really exciting to have that happen. I wasn’t expecting to medal ... I couldn’t believe I got second. It didn’t sink in right away.”
Yukon teammate Maria Peters raced to 23rd on Tuesday in a field of 40. She took a spill on a downhill and missed three in her second time to the range after cleaning her first. Maria placed 21st on Sunday, hitting 14 out of 20 at the range while using a backup rifle.
“It was mentioned the other day she had a lot of rifle issues – we got those solved,” said Dennis. “She cleaned in prone today and then she didn’t do as well in standing, so the reverse of what she did on Sunday.”
At just 17 years old, Moser is competing against biathletes as much as three years older than her. At 16, Maria is competing up two categories and will be eligible for the 2019 Games.
Moser and Maria will next race in the pursuit on Wednesday.
“What did it for her today was her strong skiing,” said Dennis. “When Nadia doesn’t shoot as well as she’d like, she gets mad and she skis faster. So obviously that served her well today.”
“In tomorrow’s race she’s set up in the perfect position, she’s third out of the starting line, 10 seconds behind the starter. And as you’ve seen, in these races anything can happen.”
Moser, who was Yukon’s flag bearer at the opening ceremony, isn’t new to climbing podium steps. She was the only Yukon athlete to win three gold medals at the 2014 Arctic Winter Games. She also won a silver at a North American Cup in December.
Team staff are hoping to find teammates from another province or territory so they can take part in Friday’s relay race.
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