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Bourque leads Canadians at World Juniors



Whistler ski club alumnus wins silver at FIS Junior World Championships

Several young Canadian skiers made their mark at the FIS Junior World Championships at Maribor, Slovenia last week, landing on podiums in almost every event.

Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Quebec, a member of the national team, led the way for the men with five top-10 finishes, including a gold medal and two bronze medals.

Manuel Osborne-Paradis, a member of the national development team and an alumnus of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, also had a strong showing with a silver medal in super-G.

Calgary’s Brad Spence missed the podium, but manager three top-10 finishes of his own.

For the women’s team, Montreal’s Sophie Splawinski was the top racer in most events with a ninth place finish to her credit.

Alberta’s Jessica Dakers also had a strong week with a 12 th place finish.

In the first downhill on Feb. 10, Bourque earned his first bronze medal with a time of one minute, 10.19 seconds. He wasn’t too far behind the winning time of 1:09.61 set by Austria’s Romed Baumann and the second place time of 1:10.01 set by Italy’s Silvano Varettoni.

"I sat down with Burkie (Canadian Alpine Ski Team head coach Burkhard Schaffer) and the goal we set out was to be in the top finishers," said Bourque. "To be on the podium is definitely in line with that goal. The course isn’t the most challenging but it is very flat at the top, which isn’t something I excel at. The bottom is fairly steep and turny, which plays into my strengths."

Three Calgary racers also finished in the top-15. Brad Spence was ninth, John Kucera 12 th and Gareth Sine 13 th . Osborne-Paradis finished well ahead of the middle of the pack with a 26 th place run.

The Canadian women didn’t have as much success, with Splawinski of Montreal leading the way in 16 th place.

Maria Riesch of Germany – who has victories on the World Cup circuit this year – took the win, followed by Lindsey C. Kildow of the U.S. and Daniela Mueller of Austria.

After another day of training, the Canadians were on top again in the super G. Vancouver’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis put in a world class performance to finish second with a time of 1:18.54. He was followed closely by a pair of his teammates, Bourque and Brad Spence, who were third and fourth respectively with times of 1:18.63 and 1:18.66.

"After Frankie (Bourque) came down, I was starting to think I’d won, then the Swede came out and blew me out of first," said Osborne-Paradis, after Sweden’s Hans Olsson charged into first with a time of 1:17.49.

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