Canadian Women’s Relay Team Skis to Eighth at Nordic World Championships
PLANICA, Slo.—The Canadian women’s cross-country ski relay squad chalked up its best result at the Nordic World Ski Championships in more than 20 years with an eighth-place finish in the 4×5 kilometre race.
Combining Olympic experience with youthful energy and drive, the team of Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.), Jasmine Lyons (Ottawa), Liliane Gagnon (Quebec City), and Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt (Morin Heights, Que.) mixed together their best relay result on the sport’s ultimate stage, racing to a combined time of 53:57.8 in the 4×5 kilometre race.
“This is a good result for us and one that we are happy with. All we ask of ourselves, and of each other, is that we ski bravely and with no regrets. The whole team put in a great effort today,” said Bouffard-Nesbitt. “I think there is great momentum on the Team and there’s belief that we can fight for an even higher placing in the next few years.”
The women’s relay consists of each athlete skiing one five-kilometre leg. The first two athletes in each of the races ski classic-ski format followed by the final two members taking on the skate-skiing legs.
Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.) propelled the Canadian women to their second-best relay result in the history of the World Championships. Stewart-Jones passed off to Jasmine Lyons for the final classic ski leg where the Canucks were in seventh position. Lyons’ fellow 20-year-old teammate, Gagnon, battled through the opening skate-ski leg, handing off to Bouffard-Nesbitt in ninth. Bouffard-Nesbitt gained one spot back on the field before crossing the finish line.
“Being on the relay team for my first World Champs was a huge honour. It was really special to get to race hard alongside my teammates and take part in all the relay traditions with the hair, glitter and fun,” said Lyons. “I feel that I skied a really strong race. I was in a pack the whole time which made things easier. It was a challenging course, but I gave it my all and was happy with the outcome. The team is really happy with the result. We all skied strong legs and raced as hard as we possibly could.”
It was just the seventh time in the last 15 years that Canada has fielded a women’s relay team at the premiere race outside the Olympic Winter Games. Canada’s best women’s relay finish came in 2001 when they were sixth at the World Championships. Stewart-Jones and Bouffard-Nesbitt were part of Canada’s 2022 Olympic squad who were ninth in the women’s relay.
The Norwegian women took top spot on the podium with a combined time of 50:33.3. Germany raced to the silver medal at 50:53.8 with Sweden in the bronze-medal position at 51:02.0.
The men’s relay is scheduled to take place on Friday.