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WORLD CHAMPS – Canada’s U23 4x5 relay team. Left to right: Derek Deuling, Liliane Gagnon, Jasmine Drolet, Max Hollman. Photo courtesy Graeme Williams / BOBO / Planica nordic

Whitehorse’s Derek Deuling wins another U23 gold for Canada

Another Whitehorse athlete is a world champion.

By Morris Prokop on February 12, 2024

Another Whitehorse athlete is a world champion.

Derek Deuling, along with Jasmine Drolet, Max Hollman and Liliane Gagnon won Canada’s first U23 Relay World Championships title.

They triumphed in the 4x5 Mixed Relay Classic/Free at the U23 World Championships in Planica, Slovenia Sunday.

Nordiq Canada’s posted on their Facebook page, “It was a tremendous effort by the athletes, and the team behind the team.

“Battling in the rain, the team would battle to hang onto the lead pack with enormous efforts in each leg.

Max Hollmann tagged off to Liliane Gagnon for the final leg in fifth position. With the weight of a nation on her shoulders, Gagnon made her move in the final straight free skating ahead of the competition to cross the line, and write Canadian skiing history!”

Deuling, Drolet, Hollmann and Gagnon captured gold in 50 minutes, 9.7 seconds.

Deuling kicked off the race in the first of two classic discipline laps. “I was nervous taking the first leg, I really didn’t want to let my teammates down, but as soon as the race started, I felt confident, and really strong,” said Deuling.

Deuling held to the lead group, passing off to Drolet in fifth place.

Emulating teammate Sonjaa Schmidt’s gold medal move in the women’s sprint race, Gagnon dug deep to free-skate past the leaders in the last 150 meters to take the win.

It was the second gold medal at the U23 Champs for a Yukon athlete after Sonjaa Schmidt claimed gold in the Women’s 1.2 km Sprint Final Free last Tuesday.

Speaking of the huge success at the U23s, Nordiq Canada CEO Stéphane Barrette said, “Canada is coming. Look out.”

– With files from a Nordiq Canada press release.

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