CORRECTION: In our excitement about Beckie Scott’s return to the World Cup, we wrote that her 5th and 15th place finishes represented the two best North American results of the season, but that is incorrect. Beckie’s 5th place is the best North American results of the season; however Sarah Renner of Canada was 7th in the World Cup sprint race in Bern on December 4. Sorry about that!
Beckie Scott wasted little time proving she remains one of the strongest cross-country skiers in the world. Five months without training this spring and summerÂ hasn't slowed her down. Beckie was undecided this spring about her future racing plans and took an almost five month break without training. Serious training resumed at the end of August with the 2006 Olympics as the main goal.
The Olympic gold medallist finished fifth on Sunday in a World Cup sprint in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, in just her second event of the season after training full-time in North America this fall.
“It is a definitely a great feeling to finish where I did today,” said the Vermilion, Alta. native. “I was exhausted this morning when I woke up because of the travel and yesterday’s race so I thought it could go either way today, but I mentally got my way through it.”
Scott, who qualified in sixth spot with a time of two minutes 31.12 seconds for the round of 16 athletes competing in the head-to-head heats , won her quarter-final heat, but got squeezed out in the semi finals, finishing third, which moved her to the consolation final. The speedster quickly rebounded and won the B Final, to solidify fifth place.
The heats consist of four athletes in each race, with the top-two athletes crossing the line first moving onto the next round. The finals pit the top-four athletes battling it out for the finish.
While Scott was pushing for the podium, another Canadian skier had a solid outing in her first World Cup race ever. Chandra Crawford of Canmore, Alta. finished a respectable 35th in a field loaded with 60 of the top athletes in the world. The 21-year-old is developing into one of the strongest cross-country ski sprinters in the country behind veterans Scott and Sara Renner.
“I am really happy to get this first World Cup race under my belt. I was so excited and quickly realized the best in the world are extremely fast,” said Crawford, who has won a number of sprint races in North America. It was really exciting to do a good sprint and see where I stood against the best. It was also awesome to watch Beckie compete for the top. We are so lucky to have a great leader like her on our team.”
Two other Canadian women also suited up in the Sunday sprints. Sara Renner, who has enjoyed one of her most successful seasons on the World Cup, narrowly missed the final heats after qualifying 19th, while three-time Olympian, Milaine Theriault of St. Quentin, N.B. finished 58th.
However, it was Norway’s Marit Bjoergen who continued her dominance of the World Cup on Sunday when she made another trip to the top of the podium. Joining Bjoergen in the top three was Pirjo Manninen of Finland in the silver medal position, and Germany’s Claudia Kuenzel taking home the bronze.
It was another challenging day for the young Canadian men’s squad. Devon Kershaw of Sudbury, Ont., the youngest of the Canadian quartet at 22 years of age, led the way in 41st position. Other results included: George Grey, 25, of Rossland, B.C. in 49th; Dan Roycroft, 26, of Port Sydney, Ont., in 70th; while Chris Jeffries, 27, of Chelsea, Que., did not start.
The Norwegian flag was also flying on top of the men’s podium as Johan Kjoelstad grabbed the gold medal. Italy’s Freddy Schwienbacher finished second, while Sweden’s Bjoern Lind rounded out the top three taking home the bronze medal.
No Retirement For Beckie Scott: http://www.fasterskier.com/news.php?id=1423Â
Complete Results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?event_id=14545&cal_suchsector=CC
1.Marit Bjoergen, NOR; 2. Pirjo Manninen, FIN; 3. Claudia Kuenzel, GER; 4. Petra Majdic, SLO; 5. Beckie Scott, Vermilion, Alta., CAN.
19. Sara Renner, Canmore, Alta.; 35. Chandra Crawford, Canmore, Alta.; 58. Milaine Theriault, St. Quentin, N.B.
1.Johan Kjoelstad, NOR; 2. Freddy Schweinbacher, ITA; 3. Bjoern Lind, SWE; 4. Roddy Darragon, FRA; 5. Tor Arne Hetland, NOR.
41. Devon Kershaw, Sudbury, Ont.; 49. George Grey, Rossland, B.C.; 70. Dan Roycroft, Port Sydney, Ont., DNS. Chris Jeffries, Chelsea, Que.
Source: Cross Country Canada