Thursday, February 12, 2004 - Results
Drew Goldsack Gold, Chandra Crawford Silver at U23's

Soldier Hollow, Utah - Canada's cross-country skiers shocked the world on Thursday, picking up a gold and silver medal at the Under-23 Cross-Country Ski World Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah.

Drew Goldsack, of Red Deer, Alta., who qualified sixth for the 1.2-kilometre sprint event, was one of four Canadians that moved into the round of 16 men that competed head-to-head in four separate heats. The top-two athletes in each heat advance towards the final. Feeling a bit rusty after Wednesday's events, Goldsack persevered through to the overall final, and took authority over the other three skiers to complete his golden task.

"This is a miracle for me," said Goldsack. "I am a pretty good sprinter, but I didn't know this was possible. This will give me so much confidence heading into my first World Cup competitions next month knowing that I can ski at this level against many skiers who compete on the World Cup circuit."

The other two Canadian men, Devon Kershaw, of Sudbury, Ont., Phil Widmer, of Banff, Alta., and Sean Crooks of Thunder Bay, Ont., who qualified 10th, 11th and 14th respectively, all were sent packing in the quarterfinals.

While Goldsack hopped to the top step of the podium, Boerre Naess, of Norway, finished in second, and Germany's Christian Sieller was third. Andrew Newell, of the United States, was last to cross the line in the men's final.

Chandra Crawford took the nation on her shoulders as the lone Canadian woman competing in the individual sprint. The Canmore, Alta. native, who qualified second against the world's best racers under the age of 23, took advantage of an ideal course that was set up similar to the Canmore Nordic Centre, which is home to the national team.

Crawford powered her way through the heats to the final where she ran into Italy's Christina Kelder. The Italian, who recently finished eighth in a World Cup event, knocked off Crawford's teammate, Tara Whitten, in the finals of the same event last year.

"I was so nervous throughout the day, but I was excited to get into the final and face Christina. I was determined to take her down today," said the 20-year-old Crawford. "I came up a little short, but this is an awesome day for Canada, and the entire team who worked so well together today."

Kelder did retain the World Championship title, edging out Crawford in the women's final. Poland's Justyna Kowalczyk grabbed the final spot on the podium taking home the bronze medal.

Crawford added a great deal of credit for Canada's performance had to go to the support team and wax technicians.

"The whole crew worked so well together and made my skis faster each heat," said Crawford. "We have tones of family and friends down here cheering us on and our technicians were first-class today. It is a great day to be Canadian."

Soldier Hollow is turning into a second home for Canada's cross-country skiers. Site of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, it was the course Beckie Scott, of Vermilion, Alta., won an Olympic gold medal in the 5-kilometre pursuit.

The Canadian squad will suit up again on Saturday for the team relay event at the Under-23 Cross-Country Ski World Championships.

Women’s Results:
1 KELDER, Christina ITA
2 CRAWFORD, Chandra CAN
3 KOWALCZYK, Justyna POL
4 RYDQVIST, Maria SWE
5 MORIGGL, Barbara ITA
6 RANDALL, Kikkan USA
7 STROEMSTEDT, Anna Karin SWE
8 GREDIG, Sandra SUI

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Men's Results:
1 GOLDSACK, Drew CAN
2 NAESS, Boerre NOR
3 SIELER, Christian GER
4 NEWELL, Andrew USA
5 SEIFERT, Benjamin GER
6 KOZISEK, Dusan CZE
7 KRECZMER, Maciej POL
8 WESTON, Tim USA

Complete Results for the Under-23 World Championships: http://www.summit-systems-timers.com/u23/

Source: Cross Country Canada


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