George Grey Posts Solid Result at World Ski Championships

By Contributor
February 23rd, 2009

eorge Grey ploughed through fresh snowfall to lead the track to the finish line for four Canadians and finished 21st in the men’s 15-kilometre individual start competition at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic on Friday.

Starting in the second tier of athletes, the 29-year-old Grey – who is the oldest member of the Canadian men’s squad – clocked a time of 40 minutes 20.6 seconds in the opening men’s race of the week-long Nordic festival.

“It was a solid day for George, but he likely wanted a little more,” said Dave Wood, team leader, National Ski Team. “It wasn’t long ago that George would have been doing handstands with this result, but that has changed now and that is good because it shows how far he has come this year.”

It certainly has been a dream season for the Rossland, B.C. native. Recently married this summer, and making a concerted effort this year to manage his body properly to ensure he is in top form for these World Championships, Grey is posting the best results of his career. After finishing a career-best ninth in the prologue race at the Tour de Ski in December, the wily veteran predicted podium results were not far away for the Canadians. Grey and teammate Alex Harvey, captured their first World Cup podium result when they finished third in the team sprint at Whistler Olympic Park last month.

“Once you start breaking into the top-10 anything is possible,” said Grey earlier this year. “I have been at this a long time and it is just so great to finally break through.”

Other Canadians joining Grey in Friday’s distance race was his World Cup medal-winning teammate, Alex Harvey, of St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., who finished in 36th (41:19.4); Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., in 37th (41:23.1); and Chris Butler, of Thunder Bay, Ont., in 54th (43:00.0).

Estonia’s Andrus Veerpalu won the first men’s gold medal of the championships after stopping the clock at 38:54.4. Lukas Bauer, of Czech Republic, thrilled the hometown crowd with a silver medal after crossing the line with a time of 39:00.7. Finland’s Matti Heikkinen rounded out the podium in third (39:10.8).

The World Ski Championships continue in Liberec, Czech Republic on Saturday with the men’s 15-kilometre pursuit race.

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