After months of uncertainty, Hay River biathlete Brendan Green has finally earned a spot to compete at next month’s Winter Olympics.
The now two-time Olympian called his latest results at the Olympic-qualifying national trials in Canmore a “big relief.”
Following months of training and recovery from a back injury sustained in 2012, Green started the season this year having to re-qualify to make the Olympic team headed to Sochi, Russia. In 2010, he competed at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
After working his way back to the World Cup in Austria in November, he needed a top-30 finish to qualify for the Olympic team. He came in 31st, by one-tenth of a second.
“Over a 10-kilometre biathlon race, that’s really not a lot of time,” he told The Hub. “I spent the next week going over in my head what I could have done differently, what I could have done better.”
Green returned to Canada to compete in Canmore, Alta., for the last remaining spot on the Canadian men’s biathlete team and made it.
“Fortunately, things finally started going my way and I had two really strong back-to-back races,” he said. “I was pretty mentally drained coming out of the World Cup and tried to focus on the small details I could control, and not the results or the outcomes.”
Now back in Canmore, Green said he is just trying to relax a bit before amping up for February.
“The last few months, and certainly the last two weeks, have been pretty stressful,” he said.
Green’s father, Bruce Green, said he knows it hasn’t been easy for his son to make it back on the team after the injury, and he thinks Canada has the strongest men’s biathlete team it has ever sent to the Olympics.
“This time round, I think the pressure was greater for Brendan,” he said. “Everyone was so excited when he went to Vancouver, but he was very much the underdog. Now he has a lot of experience he can draw on and he’s been really working hard for four years now to be a medal contender. Now he’s the one to beat.”
Green said he had briefly considered booking tickets to Russia to see his son race, but costs and processes to get into the country were prohibitive. Plus, he noted live-feed televised races can’t be beat for coverage.
“We went to see him in Vancouver and that was tough enough,” said Green, laughing. “I think we saw him for about all of 20 minutes in the end.”
Both Greens – junior and senior – thanked the community of Hay River and Pat Babinski, Brendan’s first coach, in particular.
“He’s the person who made this all possible,” said Bruce Green.
Brendan Green said it was something special to have an entire community backing him in his efforts, and that he hopes it will follow him to Sochi.
“I want to be able to perform to the best of my abilities,” he said. “And really represent Hay River with pride.”