Update on Racing Rousseau Sisters

The 2019 World Junior/Youth Biathlon Championships have come to an end with Shilo achieving a new personal best result.

Shilo competing for Team Canada at World Championships.
Shilo competing for Team Canada at World Championships.

At this World Championship event held last week in Slovakia, Shilo was thrilled to achieve her personal best, finishing 30th in the world in her individual race. Shilo shot 80% and was the top North American Youth Woman to finish that day.

In the sprint race Shilo had another good performance, but Mother Nature was not on her side. Shilo had an early start with bib #4 and it was snowing before the race began and during her time out on course. The front runners out had to race in soft, slow, snow conditions for most of their race. However, as the race went on, it began to rain and caused the course to freeze up. This created faster ski conditions and better results for everyone who started later.

The field consisted of 106 of the World`s best biathletes.  The sprint race is a unique race because from these result, you qualify for the pursuit race. In order to qualify, you must place within the top 60.  Shilo hit 9 out of 10 and finished 42 place. Shilo was disappointed with that result, but was reassured by the Canadian Coach that this did not reflect where she should have placed in this race because of her slow ski conditions.

The coach sat down with Shilo, and after looking at all the data from the race, he felt that Shilo should have placed anywhere in the top 25. This is just the cruel part of racing; sometimes have to deal with conditions out of your control.

To give you an example, the girl who won a bronze medal in the individual race who started with bib #5 right behind Shilo, ended up finishing in the mid 50's. This put Shilo's mind at ease and she just tried to stay focused on her next race.

The final race at the World Championship was Sunday, February the 3rd and the atmosphere was like the super bowl of biathlon in Slovakia. Huge crowds were on hand to witness the last race event.

Shilo started 42nd and the trails were congested with racers. She came to the range for her first prone shooting,  hitting 4 out of 5 targets. The 2nd bout of prone and the 1st bout of standing, Shilo hit all of her targets. This moved her up the field into 27th spot, only losing 8 seconds to the front runners in the field which was amazing for her. When she came to her last bout of standing, unfortunately she missed 3 targets, so had to ski 3 penalty laps which in the end put her in 35th place in the World this day.

Shilo and Team Canada at World Championships
Shilo and Team Canada at World Championships

We just received a phone call from Shilo at 4:45am this morning, from the airport in Vienna, Austria. Team Canada had traveled from Slovakia to Vienna the day before. Some of the athletes will be heading back to Canada to participate in the Canada Winter Games, in Red Deer, Alberta. Some of the older athletes are heading to Poland to train and compete in the SR IBU tour.

Shilo is heading to Sweden where she will meet up with her BXC cross country ski team, which includes her sister Chandra. Chandra and her team mates from BXC just finished racing the Canadian Eastern Cross Country ski Championships, in Duntroon, ON near Collingwood. Right after the Sunday race the team had just enough time to shower and head to Pearson airport to board their flight to Sweden.

The Rousseau sisters will meet up and compete in cross country races in Sweden and Norway, which will include the Norwegian Junior Ski Nationals.

Town of Osrblie, Slovakia host of 2019 World Championships.
Town of Osrblie, Slovakia host of 2019 World Championships.

Shilo decided not to participate in the 2019 Canada Winter Games, even though she was preselected for this event. Shilo felt that traveling back to Canada and then returning to Sweden all within a 2 week period would have been too tiring for her to perform well during.

After these ski competitions are over, the Rousseau sisters will say their goodbyes and Chandra will head home and return to school at CASS. Shilo will stay in Sweden and wait for team Canada to meet up with her to continue on with the Junior IBU circuit in Sweden and Norway.

Shilo would like to take this time to thank all the coaching staff and wax techs with Biathlon Canada for the great support they provided her during the World Championships.

She'd also like to thank all of her sponsors from across Algoma, and the people in the Town of Thessalon and surrounding area for the great support!! Without financial support, many of our Canadian athletes would not be able to represent Canada on the world stage.

Submitted by Cecilia Rousseau