LAKE PLACID, NEW YORK – It was Shilo Rousseau’s day in biathlon, as the University of Ottawa nordic athlete shot herself to the podium in the women’s 12.5km individual pursuit, claiming Canada’s first medal of the Lake Placid 2023 Games.
She completed her win with a time of 42:52.9, topping the podium with Poland’s Barbara Skrobiszewska in silver and Czechia’s Tereza Jandova in bronze.
“The race clearly went down very well, the course was nice and hard packed, and it was a lot nicer than I was expecting given the conditions and that we raced after the men, “ she said.
“Before the race, I was kind of nervous; I wasn’t sure how I would stack up against the competition as I hadn’t done many biathlon races this season.”
The medal, Canada’s first-ever in FISU Games biathlon, came into view for Rousseau as she heard her name called through first place each time she reached the shooting range. She kept her shooting strong throughout, missing two shots throughout the event.
A member of the Canadian senior development team, Rousseau’s medal was a full circle moment for her family, with her father, Yves Rousseau, who represented Canada from 1980 to 1986, having helped Team USA biathlon athletes ahead of their quest at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.
“It was after the first standing shooting, so after the second shooting, when I cleaned that, I felt really confident that it could be a good day, and I knew I could make it happen.”
Calgary’s Anna Perry cracked the top 15 with an 11th-place finish as Canada’s second-best in the event, while Danika Burke, also of Calgary, finished third highest in 28th. Rousseau’s teammate in Ottawa, Zoe Pekos, landed in the 31st position, while her sister, Cara Pekos of McMaster, found herself 39th.
Canada didn’t quite have the same luck in the men’s 15km biathlon, with Kazakhstan’s Vadim Kurales winning gold, Norway’s Oerjan Moseng grabbing silver and France’s Axel Garnier winning bronze.
The event saw William Moineau of Cégep de Lévis-Lauzon finished in the top spot for Canada in 26th. Laval Rouge et Or’s Simon Gauthier followed with a 28th place finish, with Lance Sekora of Calgary, Zachary Demers of Cégep Garneau and Calgary’s Romeo Champagne out spots 29-31, respectively. uOttawa’s William Ng claimed 36th spot.
Still, there are lots of medals up for grabs in biathlon competitions at the University Games, with seven competitions remaining.