12 décembre 2009

photo : Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

Canada's Gaiazova reaches podium at NorAm cross country event

VERNON, B.C. - Montreal's Dasha Gaiazova helped her Olympic chances Saturday with a second-place finish in the women's 10-kilometre skate-ski race at a NorAm cross-country skiing event.

Gaiazova, who had two podium finishes at the U.S. Super Tour two weeks ago, crossed the line in 29 minutes 46 seconds. Holly Brooks of the U.S., was first in 29:37, while American Rebecca Dussault was third in 30:24. The event is the first of four Olympic qualification races for the Canadian cross-country team.

"There was definitely lots of pressure coming into this one and I really wanted to do well so I'm thrilled,'' said Gaiazova. "I dealt with everything great, stayed relaxed and skied well.''

Gaiazova, who competed for Canada at the 2006 Games, dedicated her summer training to building strength and power to find her way back on the Olympic team.

"This does not assure me anything, but it definitely puts me in a very good position to qualify for the Olympic team,'' said Gaiazova. "I have been really strong in the sprint races so I put a lot of focus on this one. It was a great day and I couldn't have asked for a better start.''

Edmonton's Madeleine Williams was fourth in 30:31.

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