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Skiathlon at Olympic/Junior/U23 Trials at Canmore Noram
By:  Sheila Kealey   (2014/01/15)


Sunday's NorAm skiathlon was highly anticipatedby many. As the final event for the Olympic/U-23/Junior trials in Canmore, a lot was on the line forathletes who have been training for a spot of Canada'sOlympic team for years, and for younger athletes aiming to secure a birth on the Junior and U23 teams for theWorld Championships in Italy.Wax techs had extra work, since skiathlons require two pairs of skis per athlete. Race organizersalso put in extra time, laying out a stadium with exchange boxes, multiple lap lanes, and accommodating a number of mass starts for the various races.

As all races inCanmorethis week, the eventwas flawlessly organized, and delivered exciting finishes by some of Canada's fastest skiers. The women's 15km race saw a close battle between Amanda Ammar, Britanny Webster, and junior Anne-Marie Comeau.Disappointed by herperformance in the 10k classic on Thursday, Amanda gave it everything she had and won the event. Sadly for Amanda, this wasn't enough for the final distance spot on theOlympic team, which went to Emily Nishikawa who won Thursday's 10km event. XC Ottawa's Sheila Kealey and Holly Jones toughed it out for 17th and 18th position.

Sheila on her final skate lap

The men's race was won convincinglyby Fort McMurray's Graeme Killick who earned the final distance spot for the Olympic team. XCOttawa had somestrong performances, withSteffanLloyd getting faster with every race,finishing 17th, Riel Allain 41st, and Matt Brown 43rd. Steffan also won the skiathlon's "third"event - the transition from classic to skate skiing.

It was a tough butimpressive week of racing at altitude onchallenging courses.The Canmore organizersput on an incredible event.XC Ottawa had excellent wax support all weekfrom John Surronen, Anna Geiger-Whitlock, and Mike Vieira, using Vauhti waxes.

Star wax tech Anna GW and Ingrid on a training day

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