Canada’s Olivier Léveillé wrapped up his first Olympic Games with his second top-30 finish of the week, finishing 27th in the men’s 30-kilometre free technique race.
The Sherbrooke, Que. resident persevered through a broken ski and heavy winds that shortened the scheduled 5- kilometre race to 30 kilometres at the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Skiing Centre near Beijing. Léveillé completed the course with a time of 1:15:54.3.
“I’m very proud of my first Olympic Games. It was bittersweet. I felt insanely good today,” said the 20-year-old. “I was well placed in the pack and was about to make a move to climb forward into the top-30 on the first lap, but unfortunately someone stuck their pole on my ski, and it broke it.”
Léveillé was forced to battle through the next kilometre on one ski until he was met by a Team Canada ski technician to make the change.
“I lost at least a minute on the pack in that kilometre so I was proud to make it back,” said Léveillé. “It was a a mental battle today against myself and the wind, but I was able to get my second top-30 of the Games.”
Léveillé was also the top Canadian in the 15-kilometre individual classic cross-country ski race earlier in the week where he placed 29th.
Two Russians, Alexander Bolshunov and Ivan Yakimushkin, finished one-two in the race. Bolshunov was first across the line in a time of 1:11:32.7. Yakimushkin claimed the silver at 1:11:38.2. Norway’s Simen Hegstad Krueger was third at 1:11:39.7.
Rémi Drolet (Rossland, B.C.) was the only other Canadian in the 60-man field and finished 35th with a time of 1:16:27.1.
“It was a tough one out there. “It started off okay, but it didn’t go as well as I wanted today,” said Drolet. “It was just one of those days where I was really struggling and wasn’t able to find that next gear.”
The women’s 30-kilometre free technique race is set for Sunday in Beijing.
Complete Men’s Results: https://bit.ly/359dNiS