Quebec Athletes Dominate Canada Winter Games Sprints
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I.—Quebec athletes took a a bite out of five medals, including double gold, in the women’s and men’s classic-ski sprint races at the Canada Winter Games on Wednesday.
Tory Audet won her second straight gold medal in women’s racing, while Ry Prior finished on top of a Quebec podium sweep in the men’s event.
Audet has made an early statement that she is the one to beat this week at the the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale. The Chelsea, Que. skier took a chomp out of the women’s field, leading wire-to-wire in hear of her four dashes around the 1.2-kilometre sprint track.
“It feels really good to be sprinting up in the higher levels like this. I’ve been sprinting a lot this year and this was probably one of my favourite races,” said Audet.
With the top-two athletes in each heat, along with the next two fastest athletes overall, advancing to the next round, two of Canada’s top young prospects in Quebec’s Audet and Alberta’s Alison Mackie were destined for a showdown in the final.
After qualifying one-two respectively for the round of 30 in the head-to-head heats, the two 17 year olds led the pack in both of their quarter- and semifinal rounds. They charged to the front of the pack at the soundn of starter’s pistol in the final and stayed there as the six-woman group worked its way across the back of the stadium.
Fighting stride-for-stride, Audet dropped the Edmontonian into the silver medal position while powering her way up the lone hill on the course before dropping back down into the finishing stretch.
“It was so much fun,” said Mackie “I did a good job of focusing on what I needed to do and executing my plan from the lessons I learned in the quarters and semifinals. I’m really happy with my finish.”
Quebec’s Élie-Anne Tremblay won the bronze.
The Quebec domination continued in the men’s race with a sweep of the podium.
Ry Prior, who represented Canada at the recent World Junior Championships, took control of the show once he earned his spot for the head-to-head action.
Qualifying for the heats with the second fastest time, the Chelsea, Que. product skied strong and steady at the front of the pack while meandering up and down the hills in central Prince Edward Island.
With the group of six double-polling down the finishing stretch, Prior pulled off the front and bowed to the crowd while crossing the line in the gold medal position.
“It was an awesome sprint day. I’m super spoked and it was a super fun final,” said Prior. “It was something I really wanted. This was my race to win today so I’m really happy that I was able to pull it off.”
He was joined on the podium by two athletes from Club de ski de fond Montériski.
Alexandre Bourque grabbed the silver, while Justin Boudreau hopped onto the bronze-medal position of the podium.
British Columbia’s Logan Cox won the men’s 1.2 kilometre Para Nordic standing sprint. Ontario’s Madison Mullin won the women’s standing race.
Kaden Baum, also of British Columbia, won the men’s Para Nordic sit ski sprint race, while Ontario’s Erica Carmela Scarff was the women’s sit-ski champion.