Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt and Leo Grandbois Golden at Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals
THUNDER BAY, Ont.—Olivia Bouffard-Nesbitt and Leo Grandbois skied to gold at the finish line of the 30-kilometre mass start classic-ski courses this St. Patrick’s Day.
The two Canucks finished on top of the nation in the most difficult test of all – a cross-country ski marathon that was reduced from 50km to 30km for all competitors – to cap off the 2023 Nordiq Canada Ski Nationals on Friday in Thunder Bay, Ont.
A 2022 Olympian, Bouffard-Nesbitt (Morin Heights, Que.) captured her third individual medal of the week and second victory after clocking a time of 1:58:00.7 in her four trips around the 7.5-kilometre tracks. Leo Grandbois, Orford, clocked a winning time of 1:34:27.0 in the men’s 30-kilometre race.
Anna Stewart, who is a member of Nakkertok Nordic, was tops in the U20 women’s 20-kilometre classic-ski race with a time of 1:17:53, while Alexis Ermel (Mont-Sainte-Anne) was crowned U20 men’s champ.
“It feels great. It is always a huge honour to win a National title. The 30km is the most traditional racing in cross-country skiing and to win it at Nationals feels good.”
“I feel lucky that my advantage today was my experience and confidence as the strengths I had in this race. I leaned into this race. A huge shout out to Amelia Wells today. Amelia skied hard and did a lot of leading and that was a really gutsy performance in these weather conditions.”
“I skied my own race, my own strengths and was happy to follow whoever wanted to lead.”
“Strategy and nothing else today. I knew it would be slow, hard conditions. I tried not to be at the front as long as possible. I just stayed patient until the last lap, and when I decided to push the pace Julien went for it, so it was a bit of a gift from God to stick with him and put a gap on the other guys. While I was working with him, I was behind him, so I was a bit fresher for the hills. I’m happy – the brain worked more than the shape.”
“This morning I woke up, I was shaking. This was one of the races with the most pressure, but I usually perform well under pressure. I came here for a COC leader spot so I could not be more happy. This is the end of the season I was looking for.”
“Today was a mental game and a strategy game. I played my cards very well. I was ready to go to war. I was ready to give everything. The snow and cold didn’t bother me. I needed that (COC) spot, and I was willing to do whatever it took for it.”
Open Women – 30km Open Men – 30km
1.Olvia Bouffard-Nesbitt (Fondeurs-Laurentides) 1:58:00.7 1. Leo Grandbois (Orford) 1:34:27.0
2. Amelia Wells (Strathcona Nordic) 1:58:23.2 2. Erikso Moore (Fondeurs-Laurentides) 1:34:51.7
3. Maggie McClure (Carleton University) 2:00:13.8 3. Julian Smith (Georgian Bay Nordic) 1:35:09.6
U20 Women – 20km U20 Men – 20km
1 Anna Stewart (Nakkertok Nordic) 1:17:53.2 1. Alexis Ermel (Mont-Sainte-Anne) 1:04:47.5
2. Katya Semeniuk (Nakkertok Nordic) 1:18 :04.7 2. Samuel Picard Fondeurs-Laurentides) 1:04:50.6
3. Elie-Anne Tremblay (Skibec) 1:18:41 3. Ian Mayer (Telemark Nordic) 1 :04 :59.3
Complete Results: https://zone4.ca/event/2023/E39212D4/