Dahria Beatty turned in another Olympic best result with a 25th-place finish in Tuesday’s free technique cross-country skiing sprint race.
The two-time Olympian was the lone Canadian to qualify for the head-to-head heats with the quickest 30 athletes. The 27-year-old clocked the 28th fastest time around the challenging 1.5-kilometre course that spirals throughout the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Ski Centre.
Beatty, who hails from Whitehorse, had her day come to a halt after a photo finish for third to fifth in the round of 30. The camera determined Beatty crossed the line fifth spot in her quarter-final heat despite a hard-fought effort up and down the steep terrain.
“I was trying really hard to make it into those semifinals. It has been a goal of mine for my entire career,” said Beatty, who was 28th in the Olympic-opening skiathlon race. “I gave it a really good shot today and I’m proud of how I skied. I’m now looking forward to the rest of the Olympics.”
The top-two athletes in each heat advance to the next round along with the next two fastest times overall. Beatty never qualified for the heats in her Olympic debut four years ago in PyeongChang.
Sweden skied to the gold and silver medals. Jonna Sundling sprinted away from the field to claim the Olympic sprinting crown. Her teammate, Maja Dahlqvist, topped American Jessie Diggins for second spot in a tight dash to the finishing wire. Diggins celebrated the bronze.
Other Canadian women’s results included: Cendrine Browne (Prévost, Que.) posting a career-best sprint finish in 35th; Olivia Bouffard Nesbitt (Morin Heights, Que.) in 40th; and Laura Leclair (Chelsea, Que.) 58th.
Graham Ritchie (Parry Sound, Ont.) was the top Canadian male. The 23-year-old qualified 34th in his first ever Olympic start.
“It’s a dream come true to be able to compete at the Olympics so that feels incredible,” said Ritchie. “Now that I have that under my belt, I’m going to focus on the rest of the week. I’m super proud to be Canadian and to be skiing here at the Games.”
Two other Canadian men also suited up on Tuesday but did not qualify for the heats. Olivier Léveillé (Sherbrooke, Que.) was 54th. Antoine Cyr (Gatineau, Que.) placed 56th in the 88-man field.(
Norway’s Johannes Klaebo won the men’s title. Italy’s Federico Pellegrino skied to second place, while Alexander Terentev – a representative of the Russian Olympic Committee – rounded out the men’s podium.
Additional Canadian Athlete Quotes:
“It felt great today. It was fast and fun which is everything I love about ski racing. The only thing I’m disappointed with is the result. It’s special and I’m very proud to be here on the start line happy, healthy and in shape. I’m now just looking for seconds on the racecourse. Of course, I’m disappointed but there is a lot to celebrate as well.”
“It felt really good. I think that was my best sprint result. I was happy about how I skied today. It was a really tough course out there. I was one second from qualifying so a bit disappointed, but there is a lot of positives to take from this race. I’m very happy Dahria qualified so I’ll be cheering her on.”
“It’s so great competing here. The conditions here are really nice. It is a very difficult course, but I gave it my all today and I’m really proud.”
The Canadian women will back on the Olympic start line Thursday for a 10-kilometre classic-ski race.
Complete Results: https://bit.ly/3oxdTI0