Canada Selects Five To Join Scott and Renner On World Cup

FasterSkierJanuary 16, 2004

—National body names Under-23 World Championship Team, Continental Cup Team—

Canmore, Alta.—Canada’s presence on the World Cup cross-country ski circuit will get a little thicker for the remainder of the season as Cross Country Canada named an additional five athletes that will join the nation’s top skiers, Beckie Scott and Sara Renner, over the next three months in Europe.

George Grey, of Rossland, B.C., and Chris Jeffries, of Chelsea, Que., will strap on the skis this weekend, January 17-18, to begin competing on the World Cup circuit in Nova Mesto, CZE. The 24-year-old Grey has been a workhorse this season, consistently placing in the top of the pack on the Haywood NorAm Canada Cup circuit, the nation’s premier development race series. 

Jeffries has had to overcome some early-season adversity after experiencing a summertime injury, but is peaking at the ideal time. The 26-year-old is finally showing signs of being back in top-racing form after posting consecutive second-place finishes. Grey and Jeffries both put Canada on the podium at the U.S. Championships last week, an event loaded with strong international talent.

“The confidence level for both Chris and George is higher now than it has ever been,” said Dave Wood, head coach, Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team, who adds getting comfortable, and adjusting to the lifestyle on the World Cup, will be an additional hurdle they will have to overcome. “Both athletes are bigger and stronger now than they have been in the past, but the World Cup circuit is a whole new level of racing with the best in the world. They will have to stick to their routine and focus on racing at a high level. It will be a good challenge for them.”

Jeffries and Grey are at the core of putting Canada’s men’s team back on the international cross-country skiing map. In the past 10 years, the Canadian women’s team has matured and become a force at the elite level, but the men’s team has struggled. Following a disappointing team performance at Nagano in 1988, only one skier, Donald Farley, qualified for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. But the Canadian men’s team is now the strongest and deepest it has been in decades. Led by Grey and Jeffries, a talented group of Canadian men are focused on continuing their development at the World Cup level and represent the nation at future Olympic Games. 

Two other Canadian men will also make their season debut on the World Cup circuit following the Under-23 World Championships in February. Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., and Drew Goldsack, of Red Deer, Alta., will gain some valuable international experience at the World Cup level. Canada’s World Cup entry quota will be expanded in March to make this possible. Kershaw and Goldsack qualified by virtue of their NorAm rankings.

Cross Country Canada also announced on Tuesday that Milaine Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B., would rejoin Beckie Scott and Sara Renner on the World Cup circuit in March. The 30-year-old Theriault, a three-time Olympian, has been getting back into elite racing form on the Haywood NorAm Canada Cup circuit this season, after taking last season off to deliver a baby boy.

In addition to the World Cup announcements, Cross Country Canada also made selections for athletes to represent Canada at the Under-23 World Championships, and OPA Continental Cup events. Selections were made from race results at last week’s U.S. Championships and the Haywood NorAm Canada Cup in Mont Orford, Que. this past weekend.

The following is a complete breakdown of athletes that will represent Canada at the various international competitions over the next three months:

World Cup: February — March, 2004
Name                                                     Hometown
George Grey                                         Rossland, B.C.
Chris Jeffries                                       Chelsea, Que.
Drew Goldsack                                    Red Deer, Alta. (will join team following Under-23 World Champs)
Devon Kershaw                                   Sudbury, Ont. (will join team following Under-23 World Champs)
Sara Renner                                         Canmore, Alta.
Beckie Scott                                          Vermilion, Alta.
Milaine Theriault                                  St. Quentin, N.B.

Under-23 World Championships: Soldier Hollow, Utah — February 12-15, 2004
Name                                                      Hometown
Sean Crooks                                         Thunder Bay, Ont.
Drew Goldsack                                     Red Deer, Alta.
Devon Kershaw                                    Sudbury, Ont.
Dave Nighbor                                        North Bay, Ont.
Phil Widmer                                           Banff, Alta.
Chandra Crawford                               Canmore, Alta.
Dasha Gaiasova                                  Montreal, QC

OPA Continental Cup: Europe — February — March, 2004
Name                                                      Hometown
Gord Jewett                                           Toronto, Ont 
Adam Kates                                          Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
Dan Roycroft                                         Port Sydney, Ont.
Dasha Gaiasova                                  Montreal, QC 
Becky Laakso                                       Thunder Bay, Ont.

Cross Country Canada is the governing body of cross-country skiing in Canada. Its 45,000 members are athletes, coaches and officials, including members of the Canadian Cross-Country Ski Team and Canadian Disabled Cross-Country Ski Team. Cross-country skiing is Canada’s optimal winter sport and recreational activity with more than two million Canadians participating annually.

Source: Cross Country Canada


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