Julia Ransom is on the cusp of something big.
At 25, she made her Olympic debut in PyeongChang, and cracked the top-10 twice on the World Cup in 2017-18. She’s had success at every level, and is well-respected nationally and internationally.
So when she decided to retire and pursue a career in dentistry or medicine, it left a big hole on the Biathlon Canada roster.
“It’s perfect timing with the Olympics. With (boyfriend Haakon Lenes) finishing med school, it’s a nice transition. I sort of made my goal. The Olympics have always been my goal, and now it’s time for the next one,” Ransom said.
Ransom was always one of the most positive athletes on the team, happy to put her head down and work hard, regardless of strife on, or away from the snow. She adored the lifestyle, but knew she wanted to accomplish more.
“The big struggle is feeling I was falling behind education-wise. That was tough. Another struggle is I am really close to my family, so being away from them was tough. But you know what? There weren’t a lot of struggles. We were really privileged and had an awesome lifestyle, which was very flexible the majority of the time,” Ransom said.
Biathlon Canada named its 2018-19 team last week, without Ransom – the only familiar face not to return. While most of the veterans were on the fence about pursuing another season, the big names are back.
Rosanna Crawford, coming off her first individual world cup medal, is back to lead the team, as is her fiancé Brendan Green. Nathan Smith was also named to the team, after battling through illness last season. Stalwarts Christian and Scott Gow, Emma Lunder, Macx Davies, Megan Tandy and Sarah Beaudry also make up the senior national team.
Replacing Ransom falls on the shoulders of promising prospects Megan Bankes and Nadia Moser. Bankes had several world cup starts last season, and will look to build upon that experience, while Moser tore it up on the IBU Cup circuit. Carsen Campbell also made the senior team.
Biathlon Canada also created a U24 team this year, consisting of Trevor Kiers, Adam Runnalls, Emily Dickson, Leo Grandbois and Jules Burnotte. They also named a 26-member U20 team, which consists mostly of Foothills Nordic and Sea to Sky athletes, however Canmore’s Anna Sellers was also named to the club.
Biathlon Canada has yet to decide who will coach the athletes. Matthias Ahrens returns as head coach, however Roddy Ward, who split high performance and coaching duties last year, will stick with the HP job. The organization is on the hunt for someone to take his place. Executive director Andy Holmwood is also stepping away from the organization, while Ken Davies will take over many of his tasks in the interim.
Ransom still wants to be involved with the sport, and said the new team is in good hands.
“Regardless of the budget, Biathlon Canada has been operated extremely well. We have driven people who are passionate. It kept us together as a family. Like any family we had our ups and downs, but always looked after each other. That kept me in the sport,” Ransom said.