Hay River hero Brendan Green defied the ghost of his past injury to become Canada’s fastest male biathlete at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games last week and record a personal best, but told reporters this is likely his last Olympics.
Green took ninth in the men’s 15-km mass start event Tuesday, the top Canadian result and his own personal best Olympic finish for what is considered biathlon’s most difficult race.
Shooting eight out of 10, Green finished with a time of 43:38.3, just 1:09.2 behind Norwegian Hegle Svendsen, who took the gold medal.
The 15-km mass start is only open to the top 30 competitors and included two of Green’s teammates, Nathan Smith and Jean Philippe Le Guellec. This is the first time three Canadians have been in contention for the 15-km race.
Green competed in three events in Sochi, Russia last week, which included the inaugural biathlon mixed relay where he raced alongside girlfriend and Team Canada biathlete Rosanna Crawford.
The Canadian mixed team headed into the race with medal expectations, but a fall from Canmore’s Megan Imrie early on in the race had the team trying to make up lost time to finish 12th overall in the first biathlon event of its kind.
On Saturday, Green wrapped up his Sochi Olympics events with the men’s relay where Team Canada placed seventh overall.
Green, who took a break from racing for much of 2012 and early 2013 due to a crippling back injury, told Fasterskier the season held a lot of question marks about how his injury would affect his performance.
“But I seem to be back in my old form and racing well. And when you’re racing well it’s a lot of fun,” the 27 year-old said. “There’s a World Cup in Canmore in 2016. So I think if I’m healthy I’d like to race that, and bring my career full circle and probably end there.”
Green’s support from Hay River was non-stop during his two-week Olympic journey.
Bob White, a founding member of the Hay River Ski Club who had been keeping the community up to date with Green’s Olympic progress, told The Journal even community members who didn’t know anything about biathlon took time to understand the sport in order to cheer for their hometown Olympian.
“Brendan has everyone back home, North of 60, cheering!” White wrote on the Hay River ski club’s website. “It takes a community to raise an Olympic biathlete. Mahsi Cho!”