Gangwon 2024: Team Canada at the end of Day 13 and Games wrap-up
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA (February 1, 2024) – Team Canada wrapped up the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games (YOG) with the final day of competition, as well as the Closing Ceremony. Twelve Canadian athletes were in action in three sports today, and Team Canada increased its medal count by one – a bronze in the figure skating team event.
Leanne Gartner (Canmore, Alta.), Eamon Wilson (Burnaby, B.C), Aramintha ‘Minty’ Bradford (Whitehorse, Yuk.) and Cedric Martel (Thunder Bay, Ont.) placed sixth out of 24 nations in the mixed relay. Gartner began the race for Team Canada, handing over to Wilson after finishing her leg in ninth place. Wilson moved up a spot to eighth, handing over to Bradford who led Team Canada up to sixth place. Martel, the anchor of the Canadian team, held on to sixth place, and Team Canada finished with a total time of 54:25.
“Definitely big nerves with being the first leg starting the mass start but it gave me confidence knowing the rest of the team was out there. I had fast skis and everyone’s out cheering – definitely made it all the better.”
– Leanne Gartner
“Really excited for the future of cross-country skiing in Canada. I think doing well in the team relay really shows that you have a lot of really strong skiers who work together as a group, and we definitely showed that today.”
– Eamon Wilson
In the YOG debut of the figure skating team event, Team Canada won the bronze medal. The mixed National Olympic Committee figure skating team event was on previous editions of the YOG sport programme, but was replaced for Gangwon 2024 to more closely resemble the format at the Olympic Winter Games. This was the first opportunity for these skaters to participate in such an event, as the team event is not offered at ISU competitions for junior-aged skaters, so the Canadian athletes relished in the opportunity to decorate their team box with Canadian flags, cheer for their teammates, and celebrate each other’s’ success.
“It was great! Canada supporting me, Canada supporting us – it’s an amazing feeling! It brings out your Canadian pride and I think that’s something magical. I can’t wait to go and cheer for our teammates – we’re going to out-cheer all the other countries!”
– Michael Boutsan (Thornhill, Ont.)
Annika Behnke (Peace River, Alta.) and Kole Sauve (Edmonton, Alta.), who won gold in the pairs event and were later named Team Canada’s Closing Ceremony Flag Bearers, skated a flawless free program and logged another new international personal best score. Their performances at the Youth Olympic Games increased their previous free program personal best score by more 24 points, emphasizing the bright future ahead of them. They placed first in the pair segment of the team event, giving Team Canada valuable points needed to secure the bronze medal.
Reigning Canadian champion, Kaiya Ruiter (Calgary, Alta.), was far more satisfied with her performance in today’s team event than she was in the individual. Her strong performance solidified the bronze medal for Team Canada.
“I think the team is what contributed to having a much better freeskate today, it’s just having the energy and the team excitement – we helped each other rise up and it was a very special moment. I still can’t believe we won a medal! Wearing this medal around my neck with the Olympic rings, it’s just so surreal, it’s crazy! And so much fun to do as a team!”
– Kaiya Ruiter
The Gangneung Ice Arena holds special significance for Canadian figure skaters. At the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, Kaetlyn Osmond, Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford won bronze, while Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won gold. Team Canada also won gold in the team event. The Gangwon 2024 figure skating team understood how special it was to be able to compete as Team Canada on that same ice while achieving Youth Olympic Games history themselves, with Behnke and Sauve’s gold medal in pairs, and the bronze in the inaugural team event.
“This was the building where Canada won the gold in 2018. So obviously we went out there knowing that. For Canada, this is a pretty big inspiration and a big moment.”
– David Li
Felicity Geremia (Calgary, Alta.) and Lily-Ann Ulmer (Calgary, Alta.) competed in the women’s snowboard halfpipe event on the final day of competition. Ulmer, who is also a competitive gymnast and competed at Gymnastics Canada’s 2021 national championships in double-mini trampoline at the junior level, placed 13th overall. Geremia, who represented Canada at the 2022 Junior World Championships in snowboard, qualified for the final and placed ninth overall.
For full Team Canada results from Day 13, click here.
Team Canada finished the Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games with three gold medals (Charlie Beatty – men’s freestyle ski big air, Eli Bouchard – men’s snowboard big air, Annika Behnke and Kole Sauve – pairs figure skating), two silver medals (Anthony Shelly – men’s snowboard cross, Eli Bouchard – men’s snowboard slopestyle) and one bronze medal (Annika Behnke, Michael Boutsan, Audra Gans, David Li, Kaiya Ruiter and Kole Sauve – figure skating team event).
More than medals or records, the aim of the Youth Olympic Games is to provide young athletes with an enriching experience that introduces them to the concept of an international major Games. A core component of the YOG is the Athlete Education Programme, which is intended to maximize the learning experience of all the athletes. At Gangwon 2024, the athletes learned about safeguarding essentials, preventing competition manipulation, staying mentally fit and anti-doping from Olympians participating in the IOC Young Leaders and the Athlete Role Models programs. Athlete365 created a ‘house’ for the athletes to come and learn, connect with other athletes and to have fun and be entertained by cultural programming such as k-pop artists.
Additionally, the athletes gained valuable experience in how to navigate the major Games environment, from learning now to manage their energy, experience living in an athlete village, participating in additional media opportunities, and connecting with athletes from other sports.
“In speaking with athletes after their performances, whether or not they achieved their goals, I heard so many of them say how this experience has made them want to continue to push for their dreams, to train hard and try to make it to the next level. I look at them and see unlimited potential. I hope this Youth Olympic Games experience teaches them many lessons and serves them in their sport careers to come, and their lives far beyond sport. Congratulations to all 79 athletes who competed here at Gangwon 2024 – I hope you cherish these very special moments and are incredibly proud of what you’ve experienced and accomplished here, as part of Team Canada.”
– Lisa Weagle, Team Canada’s Gangwon 2024 Chef de Mission
“Each Team Canada athlete who competed at Gangwon 2024 has gained incredible experience that they can apply throughout the rest of their sport journeys. I would like to thank our Mission Team who did an excellent job supporting our delegation and our Chef de Mission Lisa Weagle, who made a real impact on these young Canadian athletes.”
–Eric Myles, Chief Sport Officer of the Canadian Olympic Committee
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Tara MacBournie, Team Canada’s Gangwon 2024 Communications Lead
Canadian Olympic Committee