IBU Cup Media Services
A super swift biathlete by day, a Starbucks barista by night, Vernon’s Emma Lunder had the race of her life to win a silver medal in the IBU Cup 7 at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Overcome with exhaustion and emotion, tears streamed down Lunder’s face as she embraced her mother, Kaarina Lunder, after the flower ceremony.
“(My mom) has actually never seen me race in an IBU Cup before,” said Lunder. “To do it in Canmore with my mom here cheering and everyone who has supported me for the last five years I’ve lived herr, it’s amazing to do it at home.”
Lunder shot clean against an international field for the first time of her career to finish the 7.5 km sprint race in 19:51.5, five seconds behind Karolin Horchler of Germany (19:46.4). Marine Bolliet of France won bronze (19:54.4).
The 24-year-old started the race in mid pack, but slowly picked apart her opposition as the race went on. After cleaning her last bout of targets, she threw on the jets and pushed into second place. She made up 15 seconds on the leader in the final lap.
“I told myself ‘OK, you know this course better than any girl here, so just do everything you can to make up seconds,’” said Lunder.
After three seasons racing on the IBU Cup, Lunder had a breakthrough race last season, when she finished 30th in a World Cup. She works part-time at Starbucks to fund her career, and her company gave her a $10,000 athlete grant this season to support her training. She and teammate Sarah Beaudry were the only two Canadian athletes to receive the grant.
Racing in front of friends and family was emotional, but Lunder kept her game face on and treated the day as ‘any other race.’
“I went into it any way I would any other IBU Cup. That helped me keep my focus through the race,” Lunder said.
Lunder moved to Canmore from Vernon B.C., and has been a member of Canada’s National ‘B’ team for one season, working with coach Richard Boruta.
Biathlon Canada High Performance Director Chris Lindsay said he knew Lunder was capable of this result, and is pleased it came on home soil.
“This isn’t a surprise to us. Emma has been proving over the last three years that she’s on the dvp ladder of being a full member of the national team. We saw that last season on the World cup. I see this as a direct extension of that. It may have taken a little longer, but we were confident it will come,” Lindsay
Lunder said she’ll try to re-focus for tomorrow’s sprint race, even as messages of support pour in from around the globe. She races at 1 p.m.