January 2 - Two-time Olympians Jean-Philippe Le Guellec and Zina Kocher will lead the eight-strong Canadian biathlon team that has been named to compete at the Sochi Games next month, with medals an outside, but valid, target.
In a sport invariably dominated by European nations, Le Guellec rewrote Canadian history books at Vancouver 2010 with four top-15 finishes, including a sixth place finish in the men's sprint, before he became the first ever Canadian male World Cup winner last season after topping the sprint podium at the opening event in Östersund, Sweden.
Meanwhile, in 2006 Kocher became the only Canadian woman since Myriam Bédard, the long retired double gold medal winner from Lillehammer 1994, to win a World Cup biathlon medal.
She will be joined in Sochi by Rosanna Crawford - who has been posting the team's top results this season so far, Megan Imrie and Megan Heinicke after the quartet together enjoyed a fourth-place finish in a World Cup team relay prior to the holiday break last month.
On the men's side, Le Guellec will be joined by 2010 Olympic teammate Brendan Green along with two first-time Olympians in Scott Perras and Nathan Smith.
"For the first time ever we are naming a full team of athletes that nearly all have Olympic experience, and that is a significant competitive advantage in fielding a biathlon team that is ready to legitimately challenge for the Olympic podium for the first time in nearly two decades."
Positive predictions were added by Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut after the team was unveiled, as he reiterated Canada's overall Winter Olympic goal to repeat their medal table topping performance at Vancouver 2010.
"This is a group of hard working and talented individuals who are eager to put Canada on the map in the sport of biathlon.
"Our goal in Sochi is to contend for the top spot in overall medals won, and I have full confidence that these athletes will help us reach that goal."
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