Season 2014/15 was a historic one for Canada’s Nathan Smith. He became the first Canadian to win a World Championship medal when he took silver in the Sprint in Kontiolahti. He then went on to win his first race in the Pursuit in Khanty Mansiysk at the last round of the World Cup. Nathan was born in Calgary on the 25th of December 1985. This season he has the chance to race at a home World Cup in Canmore in February the town where he currently lives.
You can like Nathan’s Facebook Page: Nathan Smith Fanpage
Why did you want to become a biathlete?
I didn’t know anything about biathlon when I started. I already cross country skied with Foothills Nordic, and of course as a 10 year old boy, when I found out that there was a similar sport with guns…
Has last season sunk in yet? You won World Championship silver in Kontiolahti and your first World Cup race in Khanty! Does that put more pressure on you to win and get podiums or is it just more motivation to do better? And do you like places that start with “K”?
Yeah I’d say it took a while but after a good month of training I felt pretty settled by the beginning of June. No one has been putting pressure on me, but I would obviously like to continue the success with more podiums. I also understand that results at World Championships are vitally important for my team’s funding. I never thought of that before, but yes, I guess I have had quite a bit of luck in places starting with K.
As a native of Calgary there must have been a Stampede of media and journalists wanting a piece of your time after the World Champs! (see what I did there!) What is it like suddenly getting more attention than normal?
I did get a little more attention than normal, but to me honest it was pretty underwhelming. They are only interested for a day or two and then move onto the next story. Most sports journalists in Calgary unfortunately haven’t really gotten exposed much to biathlon and therefore don’t go out of their way to get a story.
Your win means some more funding for Canadian biathlon and gave you the chance to go to Norway for the Blink Festival. You must be really proud that your medal can also help your teammates but do you remind them of it occasionally and get them to make your breakfast etc? 😉
My team mates actually remind ME of it way more than necessary. Whenever I’m doing something well, or different, there are always teasing comments. Maybe I should start swinging my weight around more to get breakfast made. I’ll try that at the next camp.
What training have you done so far and what is the plan for the rest of the break?
So far I’ve done training camps in Jasper, Norway, and Vermont. Both the Jasper and Norway camps were new settings for me. Jasper was focused on volume, altitude, and exploring a new place close to home. Norway was awesome for training with athletes from other countries, and racing under high pressure in Blink Festival. We have our last camp of the year starting in about 3 weeks in Utah. I always enjoy training there on the long, empty roads and mountain passes.
Describe your typical race day. What time do you get up? What do you eat? etc.
Usually we race in the afternoon or evening so I don’t have to wake up too early. A leisurely sleep until maybe 830 or 9, then head down to breakfast which is usually buffet style. I always go for eggs and oatmeal, as well as bacon if it’s there. Before leaving to the race site I grab a quick light lunch, usually a little pasta but not too much meat.
I always try to fit in a short 10 minute dry fire session at the hotel where I can visualize the race with shooting. Its also important for me to go for a little 20 minute jog and stretching session to make sure my back won’t start hurting during the race later.
You won a biathlon23 Award for best improver last season! A great honour! What are your strengths as a biathlete and what are your weaknesses? Do you have anything that you specifically want to improve before next season so you have a chance of winning the award again?
I think my biggest strength is shooting speed. I can pretty consistently be one of the fastest on a given day. I’ve been working really hard on my uphill climbing over the last couple years and its been paying off. A couple of my team mates are really strong at that so they push me.
You are lucky to be able to train in a great place like Canmore. How excited are you that there will be a World Cup round there this season? Does it give you an advantage knowing the tracks so well?
I’m really excited for it. It’s a huge opportunity to showcase our sport and race in front of all our family and friends. I don’t think knowing the tracks will be much of an advantage, but it will definitely be an advantage to sleep in my own bed, eat normal food, and have no travel.
Canada has some really great biathletes at the moment. What are your goals for the season personally and what do think the team can achieve in terms of relay performances?
Personally, I’m hoping for a couple more medals next year, with a special emphasis on World Championships and the Canmore races. Our team showed consistent results of 5-9th most of the season in relays, so I think with another year of experience we can regularly get into the prize ceremony. I’d also really like to team up with Rosanna and try a single-mixed relay. I think we could do pretty well.
I recently saw a photo of you standing next to a big pick up truck that had your name on it!! What’s that all about?
Yeah, I’ve been super lucky to be supported by Canmore Chrysler, who are lending me a Ram 1500. Its a lot bigger than my old car and I’m still getting used to parking it in tight spaces.
Is your nickname really Harry Potter? Personally I don’t think you look like him but maybe it’s because you are a wizard at biathlon? 😉
It’s true. That got started when I was probably 15 years old. Maybe I looked more like him back then. Its also been apparently abbreviated to Potts, which the wax techs label my skis with.
Does your rifle have a name?
Describe yourself in three words.
Deliberate, Relaxed, Patient
Quick fire Questions:
Favourite biathlon track:Canmore or Kontiolahti
Favourite biathlete (past or present):Ole Einar Bjørndalen
Favourite event (sprint, pursuit etc):Mass Start
Favourite/best race of your career so far? World Champs silver
Favourite food: Wraps and Root Beer
Favourite sports team: Calgary Stampeders
Favourite TV show: Castle
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