TURIN, Italy - Canada's Beckie Scott came up just short in her quest to defend her Olympic gold medal, finishing sixth in the women's 15-kilometre cross-country ski pursuit in Pragelato Plan.
Scott, 31, of Vermilion, Alta., was with the lead pack for the entire race, but couldn't hold off Estonia's Kristina Smigun, who won gold with a time of 42:48.7. Scott finished a little more than 17 seconds behind in a time of 43:20.6.
Katerina Neumannova of the Czech Republic took the silver with a time of 42:50.6, while Russia's Evgenia Medvedeva-Abruzova (43:03.2) took the bronze.
'I gave it all that I had out there,'Scott said, 'but it was a very challenging course. I entered this race mentally and physically readyy to defend the gold, but it just didn't happen so I'm a little disappointed for sure.'
Scott was done in by a long, uphill climb near the end of the race and fell back of the leaders.
'It is such a difficult course,'Scott said of the loop that combines 7.5-kilometres of classic skiing with 7.5-km of skate skiing. 'The classic section was fine and I was in perfect position, but I knew after the second lap in the skate that I didn't have it.'
Four years ago in Salt Lake City, Scott was originally given the bronze medal in this event, but subsequent positive tests by the two Russians who placed ahead of her saw Scott eventually awarded the gold.
There were three other Canadians in the field. Canmore, B.C.'s Sara Renner was 16th with a time of 44:30.9, Milaine Theriault, of St. Quentin, N.B. was 54th (48:38.9) while Canmore's Chandra Crawford was 60th (50:35.4).
'I'm a little frustrated and disappointed with my result,'Renner, 29, said. 'I expect a lot more out of myself now and I didn't meet those goals today.'