(Press Release) Young Nordic Canucks get first taste of Olympic experience in skiathlon – FasterSkier.com

Olivier Léveillé takes 31st place on a monster course

By Chris Dornan on behalf of Nordiq Canada

BEIJING, China—A trio of Canadian men officially made their Olympic debut in the men’s 30-kilometre skiathlon race on Sunday at the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Center near Beijing.

The youngest member of the Canadian team at 20, Olivier Léveillé (Sherbrooke, Que.), finished just outside the top 30 in the field of 70 players, with a time of 1:23:42.0 in 31st rank.

Olivier Léveillé leads the Canadian men in 31st place in the men’s 30 km skiathlon. (Photo: NordicFocus)

“It was a tough course and a very tough race, but I was able to stay in control and finish strong today, so I feel pretty good,” Léveillé said. “I’m happy now to be an Olympian. I will eat, rest and come back strong for the sprint race.

Antoine Cyr (Gatineau, Que.) battled through tough conditions, completing his eight laps around the grueling course in a time of 1:25:26.9 for 42nd place.

Rémi Drolet (Rossland, BC) was one of 18 athletes taken off the course after being passed near the 20 kilometer mark.

Rémi Drolet competes in the men’s 30 km skiathlon at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. (Photo: NordicFocus)

The Canadians skied hard at the start of the mass start, matching the pace for the first five kilometers before the peloton split. Léveillé bounced back towards the middle of the pack before finding a comfortable pace in a small group of four who worked together to bring a handful of skiers back before crossing the finish line together.

Two athletes representing the Russian Olympic Committee finished on the top step of the podium. Alexander Bolshunov dusted off the field to win with a time of 1:16:09.8. Denis Spitsov skied to the silver medal in 1:17:20.8. Finland’s Iivo Niskanen took bronze with a time of 1:18:10.0.

The men’s skiathlon consisted of 15 kilometers of classic cross-country skiing followed by a final 15 kilometers of free technique. Athletes change equipment in a pit stop area between the two runs with the clock still running.

The men’s and women’s Olympic freestyle sprint races are scheduled for Tuesday, February 8.

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Full results: https://bit.ly/3rvbG1S

For full details on Team Canada at the 2022 Olympic Winter Games, please visit https://olympic.ca/games/beijing-2022/

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