Grand­bois sib­lings set to dom­i­nate Cana­dian youth biathlon scene in 2019

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL NEWS - By Em­i­lie Hack­ett Spe­cial to the Record

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.

RECORD ARCHIVES

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.

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