Gatineau, February 15, 2004 – This morning, under a dazzling blue sky in bitter cold, a broadly smiling Beckie Scott gave 898 cross-country skiers the starting signal for the Hilton Lac-Leamy freestyle 50 km race and the JEEP freestyle 25 km race. Stanislav Rezac, of the Czech Republic, proved himself the grand champion of the 26th Keskinada Loppet. In the Hilton Lac-Leamy men’s race he completed the course, shortened to 42 km, in 1 hour, 56 minutes and 2 seconds, pocketing his third victory in this event. Scarcely a second behind him was Charles Nadeau of Canada. Another Canadian came in third: Ivan Babikov, with a timing of 1 hour, 56 minutes and 9 seconds. With only a few seconds between the three leaders, their arrival at the finish line was spectacular.
In the Hilton Lac-Leamy women’s race, the winner was Tara Whitten of Canada, with a timing of 2 hours, 18 minutes and 22 seconds. Just 5 seconds behind her was another Canadian, Sheila Keaky. In third place was Sarah Peters, also of Canada, completing the course in 2 hours, 19 minutes and 3 seconds.
Joining in the festivities were young skiers under age 12. More than 200 of them took part in the Desjardins Mini-Keski, accompanied by Olympic athlete Beckie Scott. Covering a 2 km course, they encountered characters from legends, making this an unforgettable experience for them.
Participants and organizers will long remember with gratitude Beckie Scott, Olympic champion and honorary co-chair of the 26th edition of Keskinada. With her brilliant smile and friendly manner, she performed her role with great kindness.
Full results at <Keskinada Web Site