April 22, 2019

Trip report for the 2019 International Children’s Games, Lake Placid – Part Two

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This is part two of a three part series from John’s blog from the ICG – we’ll wrap it up tomorrow with the final part.

Tuesday came and the first day of competition. Skis where waxed the night before by Dave, and he was also up early to ski test for the Kelowna Nordic team. Nathan and Kaelin put in strong classic ski performances for Kelowna, and Sofie ended up with a fine silver medal on the podium.

Then the biathlon began. There were 17 competitors: 11 boys and 6 girls. Timur bib 2 and Enzo 8. Out of the gates they flew, ski 1 km, shoot, ski, shoot, and a final push for the finish. Timur shot 4 and 4, a penalty loop each time, and came in second for a finish of 7:59.9. Enzo shot clean his first range performance, but missed 4 on the second, finishing 7th with 9:26.7. 

Timur knocking down targets

As a new coach, I am starting to understand that a lot of biathlon is about variables and minimizing the variables. Unfortunately, with the Lake Placid air rifles and range, there were lots of variables out of our control. Nevertheless, the silver medal was awarded to a happy Telemark athlete at the podium ceremonies. Tim Burke, the US biathlete also showed up, which was a special treat.

The boys with Tim Burke

After the ski, it was an evening to relax. Tatter tots for dinner, and then it was parade down the street and fireworks night. Lake Placid was playing a “spin the weather wheel” game with its weather. Tuesday night for the parade it landed on “rain.” Nevertheless, the athletes are unstoppable, and after some hot chocolate and fireworks, I believe hot tubs and swims were in order for the kids to relax for the night. For Dave and I, it was waxing until midnight. A mix of red and yellow waxes were applied for the predicted cooler, but abrasive, conditions.

Wednesday dawned colder and slicker. It was sprint elimination day for the competitors. After the Nordic team did their skate race, it was Biathlon’s time to warm up and practice on the range. Timur shot 0 for 5 on the targets, hitting the 2 o’clock frame each time with precision. Enzo hit his targets, which only partially turned white. Seems the rain and then fall in temperatures had frozen things. Apparently taking a blow torch to the targets had not helped. Some WD 40 was called for before the competition, which seemed to work better. 

The event was a 500 metre ski, shoot, ski sprint beginning with a qualifier. Enzo was out with bib 4 coming in 8th at 4:27.4. Timur was bib 13 and came in 9th at 5:02.7. The range was still chaos, and numerous problems were encountered. Enzo came in and they closed his lane as he was getting onto the mat. During Timur’s shoot he was on the mat with his hand up waiting for a problem to be solved and the volunteer observing turned to me after 15 seconds and asked if I could time his alibi. It was a bit late to do so.  They ended up giving him a guestimate of 25 seconds. While the 2 Kelowna biathletes felt hard done by, everyone in the small field qualified, and it had no impact on the subsequent heats.   

Enzo and Timur were both in the same semi- final heat. Enzo’s time of 4:06.6 showed his speed and shooting skills far better than the qualifier. Timur came in at 4:01.1 slightly ahead, which earned him the last spot in the A final. Enzo barely missing out, was in the B final.

A few moments later they were away again – Enzo aced the B final crossing the line first of the four with a clean on the range and an even faster slick personal best of 3:59.8. In the A final, Timur was out of the mass start and after a ski, shooting for 4, a penalty loop and another ski, he smilingly crossed the finish line in second with a time of 3:45.2   A few seconds later the final two skiers crossed in a hard-fought finish. While Timur crossed second, one must remember it is biathlon, and about 10 minutes later Max with the afro was bumped to 2nd place due to an alibi, 2.3 seconds ahead of Timur’s time.   Max was thereafter known as Max 2.3. Nevertheless, Timur enjoyed the podium again as 3rd for the bronze, optimistically noting he had a chance to get a medal of each colour.

Wednesday night was more free and relaxed with no big events for the athletes. Dinner still offered up tatter tots. I enjoyed waxing skis while the athletes enjoyed the games night, as did Ben and Dave.  A competitive game of ping pong was had. Team Telemark shut down the place at 10:30, as we noticed everyone seemed to be gone for a while, and the tired volunteers were patiently waiting for the last of us to go.

Coach John – stay tuned for the final installment from me tomorrow.