Black Jack skiers Remi and Jasmine Drolet have good reason to celebrate.
The Rossland siblings won multiple gold medals at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer this past week. In all, the pair won five gold with 18-year-old Remi winning the 10-km interval start on Tuesday and the 15-km classic mass start Thursday, while Jasmine, 14, captured gold in the 10-km mass start classic Thursday.
The duo then teamed up with teammates Tallon Noble and Elizabeth Elliott and capped off the Games with gold in the 4×5-km mixed team relay on the final race-day, Saturday.
“Today was an awesome race,” Remi said in a press release. “I felt really good. It was so much fun to ski with all my teammates. This was one of the races I was looking forward to the most during the week just because the relay is always so fun to ski with your teammates. It was a hard fight out there against the other provinces but we were really happy to come out on top.”
Mother Nature even co-operated. Races can’t start below -20 C, and the thermometer crept up to -19.5 C by the delayed race-start time.
Despite the temperature, BC was again on fire, on the course. Quebec skier Antoine Cyr led his team through the first five-km lap in first place. They had a 40-second lead over the Yukon, with Alberta and B.C. skiing together, seven seconds behind.
On the second lap, Yukon moved into first, following an excellent leg by Whitehorse’s Natalie Hynes, who had picked up almost a minute on Quebec, with BC and Alberta tied, 26 seconds back of the lead.
On lap 3, Remi crushed the field, tagging off to his sister Jasmine in first place, 33 second ahead of Alberta and Quebec. The final lap saw the second gold in a row for B.C., and the Drolet siblings, as Jasmine cruised across the finish line in first.
On Thursday in the 10-km classic, Jasmine led all the way, and actually got faster over the three laps, winning the gold medal in a time of 29:31.7. Quebec skier, Laura Leclair stayed with Jasmine for much of the race, before dropping off in the final few kilometres to finish in second at 29:48.5. Whitehorse racer Hynes came through with bronze.
It was an impressive performance for Jasmine, who was skiing against skiers up to six years older than herself.
“The race was really good, it was good to start at the front and try to stick with the older girls,” Jasmine said. “I’m super excited to be on the podium and it is awesome that my brother and all the B.C. Para athletes made the podium as well.”
Later that day, Drolet raced to his second gold medal of the Games in the 15-km mass start, two days after winning the interval start on the opening day of cross-country skiing.
“It means a lot to get the gold,” added Remi. “I managed to drop Antoine on a hill near the beginning of the last lap and just tried to keep ahead of him through to the finish. I heard just before the race that my sister had won, so I was really pumped and I had to try to live up to her performance and get the gold as well.”
Team BC took home 30 gold medals, the most ever won by a BC team in Canada Games history. BC finished fourth in the medal standings, capturing 28 silver and 29 bronze for a total of 87 medals, just shy of the 88 it won in both 2011 and 2015.
Quebec led the medal standings with 65 gold, 41 silver, and 40 bronze for a total of 146 medals, followed by Ontario (18-43-44) and Alberta (36-33-31).