Road To The Olympic Games

Canada's Russell Kennedy 'psyched' by career day at cross-country ski event

Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., raced to a career-best 12th place in a World Cup cross-country skate-ski sprint on Saturday in Cogne, Germany.

2018 Olympian surprises himself by 12th-place effort in Germany

Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., had a career day Saturday, finishing 12th in a World Cup cross-country skate-ski sprint in Cogne, Germany. His previous best World Cup finish was 36th. (Dan Istitene/Getty Images/File)

Russell Kennedy of Canmore, Alta., raced to a career-best 12th place in a World Cup cross-country skate-ski sprint on Saturday.

"It was awesome. That was crazy today," Kennedy said from Cogne, Germany. "I thought I could do a top 30 but definitely finishing 12th was a surprise. I'm just psyched."

The 27-year-old Olympian, who also shared guiding duties for Brian McKeever at the 2018 Paralympic Games, took advantage of hard and fast conditions to earn a spot into the head-to-head heats with the top-30 athletes after posting the 12th-fastest qualifying time around 1.6-kilometre track.

"After my qualifier, I crossed the line and in my head I thought that was a sick race regardless of the result. Then I saw the result, so I was pretty excited," said Kennedy.

Alex Harvey 48th in qualifying

His previous best World Cup finish was 36th in Quebec City.

Italians finished one-two with Federico Pellegrino capturing gold, and Francesco De Fabiani racing to silver. Lucas Chanavat of France was third.

Alex Harvey, of St-Ferreol-les-Neiges, Que., was 48th in qualifying, while Evan Palmer-Charrette, of Thunder Bay, Ont., was 59th.

None of the Canadian women qualified for the heats. Dahria Beatty, of Whitehorse, was the top Canadian in 38th.

American Jessica Diggins won the women's gold ahead of Germany's Sandra Ringwald and Sweden's Johanna Hagstroem.

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