Canmore, Alberta, Canada, January 29. Grace Boutot (Fort Kent, ME) won the Silver medal in the Youth Women 10K Individual competition today.
Boutot finished 1:03.9 behind Yan Zhang of China. Both Boutot and Zhang had one penalty. Third went to local favorite Yolaine Oddou of Canada, 1:35.9 back. Oddou had one penalty in each of the first two stages, but cleaned the final two stages.
The 17-year-old Zhang carried a substantial lead of two minutes throughout the competition, while shooting clean in the first three stages. In the final standing stage, she faltered briefly, missing one shot, but recovered to hit the remaining four targets. With this single one-minute penalty, she crossed the finish line in 35:13.7.
Silver medalist Grace Boutot also was surprised by her medal as much as the Chinese Gold medalist was. “My goal was to get a top 10 finish here, and I certainly achieved that. I have overachieved.” She missed her first shot of the competition, but knocked down the final 19 targets. She explained what happened with that first shot, “I was trying to calm down my breathing and take the first shot. My finger got on the trigger a little too fast and I jerked it, hitting the white box below the target.”
Boutot, like the other 39 youth women in the field battled a strong wind that crossed the shooting range from left to right all morning. At times, it gusted up to 50 kilometers per hour, making the shooting conditions extremely tough. With a medal on the line, Boutot faced a huge gust in her final standing stage. She explained, “The last standing was really hard as it was very windy. I waited to take the final shots. I knew it was better to wait for 10 or 20 seconds than to take a one-minute penalty for a miss.”
For Boutot, the support of her teammates, her coach and her mother who was in the stands helped her through the final stages of the competition. “Our whole team was here today. They are very supportive and they were cheering me on.” She continued, “The last loop was pretty intense. I did know how I was doing until then. I had no idea. The Vlad (Cervenka) was screaming that I was second. There was a Swiss girl right next to me and we were fighting the entire loop.”
Glowing as she left the podium and the mandatory photo sessions, she added, “Winning a medal has been a great experience.”
Addie Byrne (Bovey, MN) finished 14th, with five penalties, 5:06.5 back, while Hilary McNamee (Fort Fairfield, ME) finished 30th, with seven penalties, 7:54.3 back.
There are no competitions scheduled for Friday. The Sprint competitions are on Saturday, followed by the Pursuit on Sunday.
Photo Credit: IBU/Pam Doyle
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