Dave Holland / COC
Dave Holland / COC

Gangwon 2024: Team Canada at the end of Day 1

GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA (January 20, 2024) – Team Canada began competition at the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games with strong performances in six sports. 21 Team Canada athletes were in action, gaining valuable international experience – some for the first time in their young careers.

Julia Bartlett (Calgary, Alta.), Flora Csonka (Calgary, Alta.) and Cheyenne Tirschmann (Whitehorse, Yuk.) raced in the women’s 10 km individual, and Dawson Ferguson (Camrose, Alta.), Luke Hulshof (Calgary, Alta.), Justin Konoff (Calgary, Alta.) raced in the men’s 12.5 km individual. All athletes other than Csonka made their international debuts today at the Alpensia Biathlon Centre. Tirschmann, who has competed at the Canada Summer Games, Canada Winter Games and Arctic Winter Games, was the highest-placing Canadian woman in biathlon on Day 1.

Hulshof, who was in a podium position for nearly half the race, achieved a fifth-place finish after shooting three perfect rounds at the range and only missing two shots in the final shooting segment. He crossed the finish line to ecstatic teammates and Canadian supporters who celebrated the top-5 ranking in his international debut.

“It’s insane! I can’t quite believe it yet. When I kept shooting well, I was shocked and I was just trying to stay focused. By the last shooting I could barely believe it. I missed two in the last one, which was unfortunate, but until then I was just trying to stay focused. The race was amazing.”
– Luke Hulshof

The mixed team event got underway at the Gangneung Curling Centre with the first round robin matches. Team Canada, consisting of Nathan Gray (Dartmouth, N.S.), Chloe Fediuk (Edmonton, Alta.), Owain Fisher (North River, N.S.) and Allie Iskiw (Edmonton, Alta.) faced a strong Team Italy in the afternoon session in front of a large and cheerful Canadian contingent, made up of many of the team’s family members who made the trip to South Korea. After being tied after four ends, Team Italy scored three in the fifth end, giving them momentum to finish the match with an 8-3 win over Canada. Team Canada will take on Team Brazil next.

Ava-Lucia Huerta (Calgary, Alta.) and Maya Yuen (Calgary, Alta.) were the first Canadian athletes to compete at Gangwon 2024 when they slid down the Alpensia Sliding Track bright and early this morning. Huerta, the youngest Team Canada athlete at Gangwon 2024, finished in 28th place, while Yuen moved up from 15th after the first round to finish 11th.

“It is just so exhilarating to be here. I knew my parents were sitting in corner 14, and I could feel their support. It was really awesome. I am so proud to be able to have the maple leaf on my uniform, and proudly represent Canada. It is an amazing privilege to have the opportunity to do this.”
– Maya Yuen

“I think being the youngest member on Team Canada is really cool, and being able to represent my sport – it’s nice to show what my country can do in other parts of the world. And also our team clothing is really cool!”
– Ava-Lucia Huerta

The short track speed skating competition, a favourite in South Korea, got underway with the men’s and women’s 1500m races. The atmosphere inside the Gangneung Ice Arena was electric, as the 12,000 capacity arena was packed. Alexis Dubuc-Bilodeau (Trois-Rivières, Que.) and Océane Guérard (Quebec City, Que.) made their international debuts, while Victor Chartrand (Laval, Que.) celebrated his 17th birthday today with a 17th place finish after qualifying for the semifinals. Courtney Charlong (Campbellton, N.B) qualified for the B-Final, placing 11th overall.

Tarik VanWieren, Canada’s lone ski jumper at these Games, competed in the men’s normal hill individual. Having the opportunity to jump on the same hill as one of his role models, Olympic bronze medallist and four-time Olympian Mackenzie Boys-Clowes, Tarik relished the moment and was happy to have represented Canada. After two jumps, VanWieren finished the event in 33rd.

“It was pretty stressful at the top, but I’m glad that I made it down the hill and was able to slap down a telemark landing… Everyone here has been super nice and super amazing, this has been such a fun experience!”
– Tarik VanWieren

Over at Welli Hilli Park Ski Resort, the snowboard cross events got underway. Hannah Turkington (Whistler, B.C.), won the women’s small final, placing fifth overall. Rose Savard-Ferguson (Baie-Saint-Paul, Que.), who only began snowboarding two years ago after transitioning from competitive figure skating, finished ninth overall, needing to race with teammate Turkington’s snowboard due to an unexpected equipment issue. Olivier Gagné (Lac-Etchemin) finished 14th. Team Canada’s first medal of Gangwon 2024 – a silver – was won by Anthony Shelly (Whistler, B.C.).

“It’s pretty surprising to me, I have to say. I wasn’t expecting it. I was just like, I want to have fun, really, but it’s very cool… I was like, there’s zero chance that just happened. What?”
– Anthony Shelly

For full Team Canada results from Day 1, click here.

*The “Potential / Comp. possible” column represents a potential phase of competition should a competitor advance. Rows in red are medal events.

As the official Gangwon 2024 broadcaster in Canada, CBC/Radio-Canada will provide coverage of the Games on, and the CBC Sports and Radio-Canada Sports apps.
The Olympic Channel will also have full coverage of Gangwon 2024, live-streamed on their free app.

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Tara MacBournie, Team Canada’s Gangwon 2024 Communications Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee
WhatsApp: 647-522-8328

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