Canada’s Dahria Beatty was beaming after cracking the top-20 for the first time in her two trips to the Olympic Winter Games, finishing the women’s individual start 10-kilometre classic cross-country skiing event in 18th spot.
Feeding off career-best Olympic performances in her first two starts, the 27-year-old put down a memorable performance, skiing twice around the demanding five-kilometre loop in a time of 30:00.2.
“I definitely feel like I am in the best shape of my season now, so I knew there was potential for a strong race today,” said Beatty, who placed 28th in the skiathlon and 25th in the sprint races earlier this week.
“I’ve been feeling good in the other two events and think that I’ve been building through each one. I had a strong result in this race at our Trials in Canmore and I feel like I’m in a lot better shape now. It was a happy surprise to be in the top-20.”
The cagey veteran of the National Ski Team skied smart and aggressively while finding her groove while powering her way through the heavy winds and steadily working her way up the epic climbs at the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Ski Centre.
“I was able to get into my own rhythm. I felt I was too conservative in the skiathlon (earlier in the week) on the climbs – especially in the classic part of the race. I had a better idea of how that would go today.
“I really tried to push my limits on the climbs and trust that I’d be able to recover enough on the downhills to go into the next one.”
The Whitehorse resident was hanging tough with the sport’s elite, progressively gaining time on the field as the race went on.
Norway’s Therese Johaug clocked the golden time at 28:06.3, edging out Finland’s Kerttu Niskanen by .4 seconds. Niskanen celebrated the silver medal at 28:06.7. Her teammate, Krista Parmakoski, finished 31.5 seconds off the leading mark to claim the bronze medal at 28:37.8.
Beatty has only finished in the top-20 on the World Cup four times throughout her career. Three of those performances – two 15ths and a 16th place – have come in sprint races. Steadily making progress with her distance skiing, Beatty’s best World Cup distance race came last season when she was 15th in a 30-kilometre pursuit in Engadin, Switzerland.
“If you go back to my teenage years, I was more of a distance skier, but I’ve had a lot more success sprinting internationally,” said Beatty. “It is definitely easier to break into sprinting if you are able to get that qualifying speed, but the last few years, I’ve been able to have good training seasons and that overall fitness has been caught back up with the tactical power I’ve had for sprinting.
“I’ve never given up saying I’m an all-around skier so I’m happy that I am finally showing that again after all of these years.”
Three other talented Canadian women also hit the start line on Thursday for the individual start race. Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.) battled to 36th place with a time off 31:08.6. Cendrine Browne (Prévost, Que.) skied into 48th spot with a time of 31:47.9. Olivia Bouffard Nesbitt (Morin Heights, Que.) completed the 10-kilometre test in a time of 33:01.1 for 61st place.
Additional Canadian Athlete Quotes
Olivia Bouffard Nesbitt
“I tried super hard, and I was able to make myself hurt. Some of those uphill’s were painful in the best way. That is how absolutely what you want in this race is to finish having hurt yourself a little bit. I’m pumped. I’m super grateful to be here and to have an Olympic bib on.”
“Sadly, it was tougher today. I always have more difficulty with the 10 km classical event and the second part of the race today was a bit more difficult. I was on my own on the track for a while. I gave everything I had today even if it’s not the result I was looking for. It can only be better next time. I am looking forward to the relay event with the girls. I believe we are all in a good shape right now and the best is yet to come for us.”
“Definitely pretty disappointed with my race. After the skiathlon I know that I’m in really good shape so I thought I could get a really good result today. I just fell short of that. I gave everything I had but it just wasn’t the feeling I wanted. I know I’m in shape and that’s nto the problem. I have other races to look forward to so I am excited for that.”
Three Canadian men – Olivier Léveillé (Sherbrooke, Que.), Antoine Cyr (Gatineau, Que.) and Rémi Drolet (Rossland, B.C.) – will compete in Friday’s 15-kilometre individual start classic-ski race.
Complete Results: https://bit.ly/3BdoBbG
For complete details on Team Canada at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, please visit https://olympic.ca/games/beijing-2022/