Team British Columbia Celebrates Gold in Epic Mixed Relay Battle at Canada Winter Games
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I.—Four British Columbia teens combined to win gold in the skate-ski mixed relay to cap off the cross-country ski events at the Canada Winter Games on Saturday.
The team of Ian Mayer, Marlie Molinaro, Eamon Wilson and Alexandra Luxmoore were crowned Canada Winter Games champs after posting a winning time 47:32.9.
“This feels great. I’m so happy and so happy for our team. What a great last day of the Games,” said an elated Luxmoore following a courageous final lap.
It was an epic battle amongst the nation’s top prospects in cross-country skiing at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale. Teams of four athletes from across Canada made their way to the start line with each member skiing two laps aroud the 2.5-kilometre loop.
A group of seven teams representing British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta and Ontario pulled away from the field of 29 in the opening five kilometres. They stuck together until the final lap of the third leg when Quebec and British Columbia made a surge.
It appeared to be a two province race with 17-year-old Tory Audet first to bolt off the start line for the anchor leg. Alexandra Luxmoore was seconds behind.
Ontario and Alberta had dropped out of golden contention but things changed after three kilometres in the final leg.
Audet and Luxmoore skated alongside each other while completing the first lap, but Edmonton’s 17-year-old Alison Mackie was charging hard from behind, and closing the gap.
“It was so much fun skiing with Tory pushing each other on the downhills and over the top,” said Luxmoore, who is a member of Nordiq Canada’s Olympic Development Team with Audet and Mackie. “On the top of the loop, I saw Alison was catching up, so I wanted to make a move to put an extra push in for the end of the Canada Winter Games.”
Luxmoore made an attack and Audet wasn’t able to respond. The West Coaster never looked back, powering her way to gold down the finishing stretch with her teammates waiting to swarm her in the finish corral.
“I made quite a push over the top. I just didn’t want to let anyone get the draft. It was a lot of fun,” added Luxmoore.
With British Columbia athletes jumping onto their golden teammate, Alberta piled onto Alison Mackie who came crashing across the finish line after taking over second place following an inspiring final leg that saw her win her fourth medal of the week (one gold and three silver).
The Alberta team of Mackie, Noah Weir-Chaba, Sabine Comeau, and Jonas Rolseth, clocked a second-place time was 47:34.6.
Quebec’s Xavier Lefebvre, Élie-Anne Tremblay, Alexandre Cormier and Tory Audet hung on for the bronze medal at 47:38.0.
Para-Nordic skiing has also been part of the Canada Winter Games since 2011. On Saturday, Para athletes were also included in the mixed gender relay with Olympic stream athletes.
“It has just been so incredible to be here. I have learned so much from everyone,” said Edmonton’s Denyse Dawe. “It was really, really cool. There were a lot of teams that needed people so it was great that Para athletes were able to jump in. So cool to see mixed gender on the course and have everyone included today. This was just a really fun event.”
The sit skiers took to the course early on Saturday morning.
Ontario’s Erica Carmela Scarff won the women’s five-kilometre race with a time of 22:55.0. Tanya Quesnel, also of Ontario, was second at 23:26.1, followed by Saskatchewan’s Krystle Shewchuk in third at 24:28.8.
British Columbia’s Kaden Baum won the men’s five-kilometre sit-ski test with a time of 26:03.6. Ontario’s Nathan Perry was second at 36:10.4. Jeremy Brandon Jones, of Newfoundland, clocked a third-place time of 43:54.7.