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Liliane Gagnon and Jasmine Lyons grab the best Canadian results of the Nordic World Juniors through Day 5

The two close friends worked together to finish 12th and 13th in the U23 women's 20-km mass start
Liliane Gagnon and Jasmine Lyons congratulate each other after finishing 12th and 13th, respectively, at the 2023 Nordic Ski World Juniors in Whistler.

Day 5 of the 2023 FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships yielded the best Canadian results of the event thus far, as Liliane Gagnon and Jasmine Lyons finished 12th and 13th, respectively, in the U23 women’s 20-kilometre mass start classic. Gagnon completed her race in a time of one hour, three minutes and 20.7 seconds on Jan. 31, while Lyons crossed the line less than eight seconds behind her (1:03:28.2). 

The pair of 20-year-olds are close friends and spurred each other on as the snow largely held off on race day.

“I started off pretty stressed out, but then I felt good [once the race started]. The skis were great—the kick, the glide—everything added up and was great for me today,” said Gagnon in a press release. The Quebec City native is partaking in her fourth Junior World Championships and is also in the midst of her first World Cup season.

“[Lyons and I] were working together throughout the race,” Gagnon added. “We could see the top eight and knew they were pretty good climbers, but we were trying to get time on them on the downhills and the flats. We have done a lot of racing together. Knowing someone’s strengths and trying to pull with them to the finish makes a big difference.”

Lyons was determined to connect with her old friend in the first lap. After getting tangled up as the pack exited the stadium, she began clawing her way forward from 45th place until she caught up with Gagnon. 

“We’ve been working together and working hard for the past year hoping to accomplish big things here,” said Lyons. “So I’m really proud of the work that [Team Canada] has put in and I think we’re on the way up.” 

The Ottawa, Ont. native also races on the NCAA Division I circuit for the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, but appreciates the opportunity to represent Canada once more on Sea to Sky soil. 

“The home crowd cheering makes a really big difference,” Lyons said. “The [Black Tusk Nordic Events Society] is putting on an insane event. It looks really great out here.”