Biathlete Shilo Rousseau has been named Team Canada's flag bearer for the closing ceremonies of the 2023 FISU World University Winter Games.
Even if the event as such will not see the athletes and the flags of the various nations parade as it was the case during the opening ceremony, Team Canada has chosen to award this honourary title to Rousseau because of her performances in Lake Placid.
The uOttawa student had a spectacular week at Mount van Hoevenberg. She first won the gold medal in the individual 12.5 km event, becoming the first Canadian medalist at these 2023 FISU Games. It was also the first time in the country's history that Canada climbed on the podium in biathlon.
Four days later, Rousseau won bronze in the 7.5 km sprint. Then, the next day, she again won gold in the 10 km pursuit. She would complete the competition with a sixth place on Saturday in the 12.5 km mass start.
“Being named flag bearer is such an honour and surprise to me; coming into the game I didn’t imagine winning any medals, let alone, two gold and a silver,” said Rousseau. “I have put in so much hard work into being a student and an athlete and competing at a high level.”
“For a sport like biathlon which typically not a lot of people in Canada know about, it is such a niche sport, it does not get much recognition. So, to have the flag bearer be a biathlete is amazing and making history.”
With her two gold medals at the same FISU Games, the biology student joins Louis Grenier (short track speed skating, 1985), Jeff Scholten (short track speed skating, 1999 and 2003) and Susan Auch (short track speed skating, 1985).
“Shilo made history with our first three biathlon medals ever, including two gold,” said Canada’s Chef de Mission, Ben Matchett. “It’s the most impressive individual performance at a winter FISU Games in a generation by a Canadian athlete at the winter FISU Games, and she deserves this recognition.”
“She works really hard, all the time,” said Team Canada and fellow uOttawa biathlete Zoe Pekos. “It’s really nice for her to get that recognition. It’s also cool that Canada as a whole is acknowledging a biathlete, s sport that doesn’t get much recognition.”
The 2023 FISU Games Closing Ceremony will take place Sunday evening at 8 p.m. EST at the Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, immediately after the men's hockey final between Canada and the United States.