I might be a little late writing this update, but I needed some time to catch my breath after that season. A whirlwind season, which I could not have even imagined back in November. Though the first World Cup of the season was in December, it seems so far away now and yet the whole season flew by. As I was flying home from Finland, I was thrilled with the week I had had. Five races, where I earned a spot on the podium in four of them and my worst race was a fifth place finish. Little did I know then that it was only the beginning and it wouldn’t even be my best week this season…
The next international competition that I raced at was World Championships in Finsterau, Germany. The two goals that I had for myself going into Worlds were one; to stay healthy. On both occasions that I have raced in Finsterau, I’ve gotten sick. Affecting races and forcing me not even to start a few. I refused to let my past experiences here upset my preparation for Worlds this time around. I was focused on doing anything I could to stay healthy. I can’t say that I had mis-feelings about Finsterau, I have had great races here but getting sick had left a bitter taste. I was determined not to let that happen for the third time.
The second goal is relatively straightforward, improve on the results I had at the previous World Championships. I left Cable, USA, disappointed with the results. A string of fourths wasn’t good enough for me anymore. I know there were reasons behind my lack of speed there, but it still stung a bit. I wanted to return to the level that I was at in Sochi and the year before that. A contender to win in any Biathlon race I started. (Interestingly enough, this was the season that I began to believe that the word ‘Biathlon’ should be removed.) At my first race at Worlds, I didn’t know where my shape was. I hadn’t raced in over a month against my competitors. I could only do what I could; I focused on those things I had control over. There was no better way to start these Worlds then to become World Champion once again. I haven’t been able to say that since 2013. As I crossed the finish line of that race, I let out a huge roar. I didn’t mean to do it; it was the pure emotion of being the very best once again. Relief, excitement, joy. After, I reflected back upon the Worlds, and I made two mistakes. The first was the missed shot in the Biathlon Individual. The second was my technical approach to the 20km Cross Country race. My body wasn’t all there, but my mindset was what held me back that day.
Enough gloom! I was part of a historical Relay result- where we earned the first ever Canadian medal at a Major Event (World Championships or Paralympic Games). The final Biathlon race was one of my top-3 performances this season. I usually rely on shooting to bring me to the top, that wasn’t the case in this Sprint. With several athletes going clean, including the two fastest skiers so far this year. I skied myself to the top of the podium. It was tight in the end, but I did it. I had become a two-time World Champion at the same Worlds, that was something special for me. (My worst result in Biathlon at Worlds was the second place!) Perhaps riding the high of the Biathlon Sprint, the following day I raced in my sixth race in eight days. The winner virtually ran away with the race, but from second to eighth it was extremely tight. On course I was told that was fourth or fifth. I believed I was fourth at the finish. I dreamed of a medal, but after such a week that I’ve had, I was more than pleased with fourth. It took a while, but provisional results were posted- I was third! I couldn’t believe it. My fifth Worlds medal from six races. Don’t get me wrong the Biathlon results were incredible and meant a lot of me but that third in an individual Cross Country event is a significant achievement on its own and for many different reasons.
The belief in my skiing ability has been growing steadily over the past few years. It had suddenly started to grow in leaps. From the encouraging results in Finland and the success at Worlds. My skiing, both skating and classic, now had the confidence to go along with my ability. Letting me now wonder where I could end up…


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