Yukon biathletes bring back gold, silver and bronze from nationals

A mass start during the national biathlon championship in Quebec. (Submitted by Keelan Robins - image credit)
A mass start during the national biathlon championship in Quebec. (Submitted by Keelan Robins - image credit)

Even a missed flight home couldn't dampen the spirits of Yukon biathletes who had an outstanding week at the Canadian Biathlon Nationals in Valcartier, Que.

The championship ran from March 13 to 19. Three of the teammates brought home medals: Romeo Champagne earned gold in men's pursuit, Cole Germain picked up silver in men's mass start, and Champagne and Isla Hupé teamed up to bag bronze in mixed relay.

Hupé said the mixed relay kicked off to a rocky mass start for her when someone stalled ahead of her. She managed a comeback on the downhills, and her success with shooting helped put her and Champagne over the top.

"I had no doubt that I was going to have a lot of fun," she said.

Keelan Robins
Keelan Robins

The competition wraps up the official biathlon season, though Hupé noted the Yukon team does have one more local race to do, the just-for-fun Slush Cup.

She said winning a medal gives her motivation to keep competing next season.

"I had already planned on continuing in biathlon next season ... but I think this definitely pushes me a lot forward and it just makes me realize that I can push a little faster and I can get better results," she said.

Ted Hupé, one of the coaches for the team, said it was a great week.

"We had a really good week for such a small jurisdiction, going up against the big guys like B.C., Alberta and Quebec," he said.

Keelan Robins
Keelan Robins

A hangup at the airport

Members of the team still seemed in good spirits Monday despite frustrating delays at the airport that caused half of them to miss their flight home.

Ted and Isla, along with two other team members, ran into difficulties when they went to check their biathlon rifles. An hour and a half later, the rifles were finally processed, but the four team members had to watch the flight — with the other half of their team aboard — take off without them.

"It was the checkout slowness and inefficiency that kept us from boarding," Ted explained. "They closed the door, we could see the plane, everything was there and they said, 'No, you can't get on.'"

Those left behind caught a flight to Montreal, and finally made it back to Whitehorse on Wednesday.