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Biathlon Canada – OSLO, Nor.—Canada’s biathletes returned to the birthplace of the Nordic sports for the opening of the World Championships where they finished 11th in the mixed relay.

World Cup rookie, Julia Ransom of Kelowna, B.C., sparked some early energy into the Canadian squad. The 23 year old skied the opening leg before passing off to Rosanna Crawford, of Canmore, Alta.  Tow other Olympic veterans, Nathan Smith (Calgary) and Brendan Green (Hay River, N.W.T), rocked the final two legs for the Canucks where they teamed up to post a combined time of 1:16:31.8.

“It was not our best, but definitely a decent start for our team,” said Eric de Nys, high-performance director, Biathlon Canada. “I think the ski speed was lacking a little and the shooting was okay.”

The mixed relay consists of each athlete skiing 6 kilometres (women) 7.5 kilometres (men), with two bouts of shooting. The first starter of each team begins in a simultaneous mass start with other participants. Once  completing their leg, athletes tag off to the next teammate. Competitors in the relay each carry three spare rounds. If all five targets are not knocked down with the first five rounds, the spares may be used, which takes more time because they are loaded by hand.

The French team won the first gold medal of the 2016 World Championships with a time of 1:14:01.0. Germany finished four seconds off the pace in second at 1:14:05.3, while the host Norwegians were 14.4 seconds back in the bronze-medal position with a time of 1:14:15.4.

It was the first race for the Canadian squad since hosting the elite biathlon action in Canmore for a World Cup three weeks ago.

“I think it was important to have a solid effort to get the team going before the individual events,” added de Nys. “The crowds are huge in Norway. Racing in that environment requires some getting used too so all things consider it was a solid start, and we will build on this performance.”

The World Championships continue on Saturday with the sprint events.

One year ago, Nathan Smith became the first Canadian male to win a World Championship medal in biathlon when he celebrated the silver in the sprint race. He backed that performance up with his first World Cup victory in a pursuit race two weeks later in Russia.

Biathlon Canada is the governing body for biathlon in the country, and oversees the IBU Cup, World Cup, Canadian Championships, Eastern and Western Canadian Championships, and North American Cups held in Canada. With the support of its valued corporate partners – Mackenzie Investments, iON Worldwide, Kama, Roeckl Sports, Lapua, USANA, and ZiZU Optics – along with the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, Biathlon Canada’s mandate is to provide national level programs for the continuous development of biathlon athletes from the grassroots to the elite level. For more information on Biathlon Canada, please visit us at www.biathloncanada.ca on the Internet.

Top-Five Mixed Team Relay and Canadian Results:

1. France, 1:14:01.0; 2. Germany, 1:14:05.3; 3. Norway, 1:14:15.4; 4. Ukraine, 1:14:30.8; 5. Austria, 1:15:08.1

Canadian Results:

11. Canada (Julia Ransom, Kelowna, B.C./Rosanna Crawford, Canmore, Alta./ Nathan Smith, Calgary/Brendan Green/Hay River, N.W.T.,), 1:16:31.8

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FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Chris Dornan

Media and Public Relations

T: 403-620-8731

E-mail: hpprchris@shaw.ca