Devon Kershaw is re-writing the history book for Canada in cross-country skiing.
On Sunday, the Sudbury, Ont. native finished the most successful World Cup season this country has ever seen on the men’s cross-country trails. While leading his team to what Cross Country Canada is calling a “dream season” Kershaw earned the runner-up position in the overall standings in Falun, Sweden, making him the first Canadian male to do so on cross-country skis.
“To be second in the overall is crazy awesome and I’m just so proud and happy of what we accomplished as an entire team,” said Kershaw. “My dream is to have one Canadian men’s skier on the Olympic podium. I don’t care who it is. I just want it to happen. I’m so motivated to get training again and keep building on this.”
Kershaw finished less than 30 seconds behind Overall World Cup winner, Dario Cologna of Switzerland, who capped off one of the most remarkable seasons in cross-country skiing history. Norway’s Niklas Dyrhaug was third.
Kershaw’s silver on Sunday completed the two-time Olympian’s 2012 medal collection. The sixth medal of the season, Kershaw came into Sunday’s finale with two gold and three bronze medals, bringing his career total to 15.
While Kershaw was the one standing on the podium Sunday, Alex Harvey of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., clocked the second-fastest time of the day to finish in sixth spot in the World Cup Finals mini-tour. Harvey had his best-ever overall World Cup finish in sixth spot at just 23 years of age.
Toronto’s Len Valjas, also 23, completed a stellar month with three World Cup podiums, two coming in the four races at the finals in Sweden.
Canada’s National Ski Team combined to win 14 medals on the World Cup this year.
“What is going on right now in our program, and here in Sweden, is really crazy. It is unreal,” said Canadian head coach, Justin Wadsworth. “We came into these Finals having accomplished most of our goals in Norway earlier this month so we were very relaxed. This week was the icing on the cake.”
Kershaw credited the team’s remarkable run to Wadsworth’s guidance.
“I know I talk so much about how amazing Justin has been for us, but I can’t say it enough,” said Kershaw. “It is this simple. When you have the best leader in the world working for you, incredible things will happen. We proved that this year.”