Grandbois siblings set to dominate Canadian youth biathlon scene in 2019
Léo and Pauline Grandbois are decidedly two names to watch out for in 2019. The two biathletes, 19 and 16, competed over the weekend in the hopes to qualify for the Biathlon Junior World Championships (BJWC) and the Canada Winter Games (CWG).
Their first significant competition of the year, the two found success, as Léo and Pauline both qualified for the CWG. “I also qualified for the BJWC,” mentioned Léo, adding that he won all three qualifying races. “Pauline did well, she qualified easily for the CWG but because of her young age, qualifying for the World Championships was much more difficult.”
“I finished the first race one minute and 30 seconds ahead of the other competitors, and with a two-minute lead on my third race as well,” explained the Sherbrooke native, adding that only the two best races are compiled in the final rankings. Despite him also winning the second race by six seconds, he “only really needed to win two races out of three.” Léo has already won gold at the BJWC back in 2017, where he even achieved a perfect score during the rifle shooting portion of the competition.
The Grandbois are now training for the CWG, held in Red Deer, Alberta, from February 15 until March 2. Léo will only have just returned from Slovakia, where the BJWC are held from January 26 until February 3. They will be training every day, taking a break once every two weeks, “because we need to rest and not overwork ourselves looking forward to the championships,” said Léo. “Biathletes are made in the summer, and that’s when our workouts are more rigorous. We can train up to 25 hours a week during the off-season.”
Léo is looking forward to being able to train on the newly opened cross-country ski trail on the Bishop’s University campus. In partnership with Club de ski de Parc du Mont-orford, the trails offer over 5km of Fédération Internationale de Ski certified trails. “We live five minutes away from the trail. There has been a lack of snow lately but they have been producing fake snow over at the golf course so we are hoping to train there soon. I am also planning on participating in a few cross-country ski competitions held there this year,” he mentioned.
The eldest Grandbois started practicing biathlon nearly ten years ago. “Pauline and I both started when we each turned eight,” he said. “Our mother is German and biathlon is the country’s national winter sport. She read up about biathlon in the newspaper and she felt like this was something we could do. We were both very active kids, so I guess this was a way to calm us down,” Léo added, chuckling. The Grandbois will be ending their 2019 season in Whistler for the Canadian Biathlon Championships.
Lennoxville residents Pauline and big brother Leo Grandbois picked up matching gold medals at the National Biathlon Championships, held at the end of March 2018 in Charlo, New Brunswick.