Thunder Bay skier races to historic cross-country Olympic finish in Beijing
Graham Ritchie, Antoine Cyr finish 5th in men's classic team sprint, Canada's best-ever finish in the event
It may not have been a podium finish, but Graham Ritchie, who trains in Thunder Bay, Ont., and Antoine Cyr of Gatineau, Que., took home Canada's best-ever Olympic finish in men's classic-style cross-country team sprint.
The duo placed fifth, with a time of 19:45:30, in the cross-country classic team sprint final Tuesday night in China.
Cyr got out to a fast start in the first leg of the race, sitting in second place at the first exchange ahead of Norway's Erik Valnes, while Ritchie posted the fifth fastest time anchoring the race after the sixth and final exchange.
"I think we both surprised ourselves today — we were super proud to get Canada in the final first of all, and then to be able to end up with our sights on the podium, it's eyeopening for us," Ritchie told CBC News after the race.
"We're really happy and looking forward to the next coming years."
WATCH | Graham Ritchie and Antoine Cyr's post-race interview with CBC Sports
Norway won gold with a time of 19:22:99, Finland won silver and the Russian Olympic Committee took bronze, while Sweden finished just ahead of the Canadians by about seven seconds.
Both Canadian skiers were satisfied with their finish, and promised to be back for more.
"Being able to show such a good race for Canada, and getting fifth for us, we're just 23," Cyr said. "People are just going to have to brace for us in the next four years, because we'll be back for sure."
WATCH | Highlights from the historic run by Ritchie and Cyr:
- A previous version of this story said Ritchie and Cyr had Canada's best ever finish in cross-country team sprint at the Olympics. In fact, they had Canada's best ever finish in the men's classic-style cross country team sprint.Feb 25, 2022 11:12 AM ET
With files from Nick Murray