The Town of Cochrane will be well represented at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games that kick off Feb. 9 with the opening ceremonies.
Local products Mason Raymond and Tristan Walker will be representing their hometown at the Games.
A third Cochranite is also heading to South Korea, but unfortunately won’t get a chance to compete.
Natalie Eilers, 19, just missed the cut on being able to represent her country in ski jumping.
“We only had one spot for Canada in the women’s side and in one of my last two World Cup events I needed to be in the top five in order to get another spot,” Eilers said.
“I ended up crashing which basically meant I wouldn’t be able to get the points to earn another spot. I got an MRI because there was worry about a possible knee injury but everything ended up being OK.”
Eilers who will still travel to Pyeongchang with her teammates, set personal bests at the Ski Jumping World Cup as well as the World Junior Championships, so Eilers will surely be back in 2022.
Tristan Walker who will be competing for Canada with the luge team, will be participating in his second Olympic Games. The Cochrane native and the rest of his team finished in fourth in all three of their events during the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia. In mid-December Walker, along with teammates Sam Edney, Alex Gough and Justin Snith, learned that they would be upgraded from fourth to bronze in luge relay after a pair of Russian lugers were stripped of their 2014 results and banned from the Olympic Games for life.
While the Russian lugers were among almost 40 athletes from that country stripped of their results and banned from competition by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for alleged doping violations, the Court of Arbitration for Sport recently overturned the IOC’s punishment of 28 of those athletes, including lugers Albert Demchenko and Tatiana Ivanova. The court cited insufficient evidence, which leaves the Canadians wondering if they had won the country’s first Olympic medal in the sport, or if they’re still competing for it in Pyeongchang.
Team member Sam Edney prepared a statement during the Feb. 6 press conference at the Main Press Centre in Pyeongchang, saying the hope is to have only clean athletes participating in the future.
“The whole situation is disturbing for our team and we believe a nightmare for clean athletes,” Edney said.
“This is not about the medal being taken away from me and my teammates. A Clean playing field is more powerful for us than a medal around our necks.”
Regardless of the prior results, Walker and his partner Justin Snith will be partaking in the men’s double competition. The team relay on Feb. 15 concludes the luge competition.
Mason Raymond was named to the Canadian Olympic Men’s hockey team on Jan. 11. The team started training camp on Jan. 28 in Latvia, with exhibition games against Latvia on Feb. 4 and Belarus on Feb. 6. Team Canada took both of those games by a score of 2-0. The team will now head to Pyeongchang to take part in the opening ceremonies before facing Sweden in their final tune up game in Incheon on Feb. 12. Canada will begin the Olympic tournament with a game on Feb. 15 against Switzerland.
Canada’s group also includes the Czech Republic and host South Korea. The top four teams – the group winners and the next highest ranked team – will advance to the quarter-finals while other teams take part in qualification playoffs to see who will be matched in the medal round.