Nordiq Canada announces its cross-country ski team for the Beijing Olympics

Two-time Olympians Dahria Beatty and Cendrine Browne headline a young Olympic roster unveiled Thursday by Nordiq Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee.

Beatty, of Whitehorse, and Browne, of Saint-Jérôme, Que., are joined by Laura Leclair (Chelsea, Que.) and Katherine Stewart-Jones (Chelsea, Que.) on the women’s team.

The men’s team is made up of Antoine Cyr (Gatineau, Que.), Olivier Léveillé (Sherbrooke, Que.) and Graham Ritchie (Parry Sound, Ont.). Both teams will be led by Norwegian coach Erik Braten.

“This is a talented group of athletes coming to these Games with seasoned leadership and first-time Olympic team members who are confident and committed to delivering results on the ultimate sporting stage,” said Stéphane Barrette, CEO of Nordiq Canada.

Beatty and Browne are the only returning members from the 2018 Games.

WATCH | Browne talks about his coach’s influence:

Louis Bouchard helped cross-country skier Cendrine Browne grow as an athlete and a person

As a veteran member of the Canadian Cross Country Ski Team, Cendrine Browne knows what it takes to train at the highest level. Throughout his journey, trainer Louis Bouchard has been there to help him take the next step and enjoy the ride. 2:19

Leclair, 24, and Stewart-Jones, 26, are ready for their Olympic debuts.

“I’m really excited to be heading into my first Olympics. It’s something I’ve always wanted to accomplish, and it’s crazy that it’s finally here,” said Stewart-Jones.

Cyr, Ritchie and Léveillé all earned Olympic berths based on their results on the World Cup circuit over the past two years.

Cyr, 23, has twice top-12 finishes this year to qualify.

“Today is a dream come true and I am now fully focused on preparing for the Olympics,” said Cyr.

The Gatineau native teamed up with 23-year-old Ritchie to finish seventh in the team sprint at the 2021 world championships.

Léveillé, the youngest member of the Canadian team at 20, is a two-time junior world championship medalist and finished 17th on the World Cup circuit earlier this season.

Canada has won three previous Olympic medals in cross country, including gold from Beckie Scott in 2002 and Chandra Crawford in 2006, and silver from Sara Renner in 2006.

Catriona Le May Doan, Canada’s Chef de Mission for Beijing 2022, said she hopes Canada’s next generation of cross-country skiers can build on this legacy.

“Canadian cross-country skiers have continued to challenge on the international circuit, and we will be cheering on these athletes as they wear the maple leaf in Beijing,” she said.

Due to the increased risks associated with the pandemic, Nordiq Canada has also named four replacements: Rémi Drolet, Russell Kennedy, Olivia Bouffard Nesbitt and Jasmine Drolet.

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