It was a first for Jean-Philippe Le Guellec as well as for Canada: men's biathlon World Cup gold. For that, Le Guellec is the CBCSports.ca Canadian Athlete of the Weekend.
The 27-year-old from Shannon, Que. couldn't miss on Saturday, pairing a perfect run in the shooting range with a dominating performance in the 10-km sprint in a time of 25 minutes 10.4 seconds.
"It is a huge, huge day," Le Guellec said after his win. "I’m still surprised this actually happened. I’m definitely happy. It is just crazy. Everyone on the team is just ecstatic. That goes without saying. We were all in the wax room and just totally, totally happy."
Le Guellec had placed sixth in the same event at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, and his win in Sweden over the weekend was the first significant Canadian victory in biathlon since Myriam Bedard's double-gold effort in Lillehammer in 1992.
"My coach said to me the day you’ll be on the podium is the day you’ll expect it the least. Just go out there and do what you do — ski smooth, stay relaxed, and shoot every target one at a time," Le Guellec said. "That is exactly what I did today. The first lap I started to tense up a bit, but I told myself to just have fun, be relaxed and stay smooth. Those were the key words for the whole race. It finally happened and hopefully this is momentum for the rest of the season."
Around the world
Check out where Canada's top athletes of the weekend were in action on our interactive map:
- Christine Nesbitt (Calgary) — The defending overall World Cup speedskating champion earned double gold on Sunday in Kazakhstan, first in the individual 1,500-metre event (her third individual medal of the season), then with Canadian teammates Ivanie Blondin (Ottawa) and Brittany Schussler (Winnipeg) in the team pursuit event.
- Charles Hamelin (Sainte-Julie, Que.) — It was also a two-medal weekend for Hamelin, who took bronze in the 1,500 and a silver in the 500 in Japan. Hamelin has secured a spot on the podium in all six of his races this year.
- Stephanie Lawton (Saskatoon) and Jeff Stoughton (Winnipeg) — Both skips captured their respective Canada Cup titles on Sunday, and by virtue of the wins locked down a spot in the tournament that will determine the Canadian entries at the Sochi Games in 2014.
- Rebecca Lee-Bentham (Toronto) and Stephanie Sherlock (Barrie, Ont.) — Lee-Bentham was the co-winner at the LPGA Q-school tournament, shooting a 13-under 347 in the five-round event. Sherlock also cemented her tour status by finishing eight shots back in 10th.