The women’s national speed
team earned Canada’s eighth World Cup medal of the season last weekend at
Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy this one coming courtesy of Fernie’s Emily Brydon. It
was Brydon’s second medal of 2007-2008, and the first time in Brydon’s 11 years
with the team that she has earned two podiums in a season.
The women’s speed team now
has five medals this season, four in downhill and one in super G.
In Italy, Brydon placed third
behind Lindsay Vonn of the U.S. and Anja Paerson of Italy. Ontario’s Kelly
Vanderbeek came closest to bumping Brydon from the podium, placing 0.04 back in
fourth place overall. Whistler’s Britt Janyk also came close, 0.16 back of
VanderBeek, to give Canada three racers in the top-10.
“I love Cortina,” said
Brydon. “Apart from Lake Louise it is by far my favourite stop on the World
Cup. It’s a classic and it’s an honour to be on the podium. My whole career
I’ve wanted to podium in Lake Louise and I’ve wanted to podium in Cortina, so
now I can check one off the list.
“I am honoured to be on the
Canadian ski team right now. When I thought of retiring a couple years ago, now
it blows my mind.
“The support that the nation
is giving us right now, our sponsors, our friends, this is what sport is all
about. And it’s exciting to be on a team that is doing so well with such
positive energy and great momentum.”
In the super G, Brydon nearly
made it two podiums in a row, missing the bronze medal by just 0.01 seconds
behind Nicole Hosp of Austria. Maria Holaus of Austria took the gold medal,
followed by Julia Mancuso of the U.S. Lindsey Vonn of the U.S. was fifth by
another 0.01 seconds, and Janyk was sixth by a gap of another 0.01 seconds. In
other words, just 0.03 seconds separated third from sixth.
Brydon was slightly
“We know that in this sport
every hundredth of a second counts,” said Brydon. “But every so often when
you’re reminded of it, like this, it hurts a little.”
Kelly VanderBeek placed 15
There was another super G the
following day, a makeup event for earlier in the season, and Britt Janyk came
closest to the podium with a fifth place finish. The medals went to Maria
Riesch of Germany, followed by Elisabeth Goergl and Renate Goetschl of Austria.
While she was disappointed to
just miss three podiums in a row, Janyk took solace in how consistently she is
“I am happy to be in there,”
she said. “I’m top six every day this weekend.”
In fact, Janyk has been
consistent all season and has not finished out of the top-10 in nine speed
events this season.
“Obviously I want to be on
the podium but I think consistency is also really important,” she said. “This
season I really wanted to be a contender for every day. I know with a good,
clean run I can be up there on the podium, and the same goes for Emily and
While the men didn’t manage
any podiums in Kitzbuhel, Austria they did manage to get into the top-10
several times in one of alpine skiing’s premier events.
In the super G, Calgary’s
John Kucera and Whistler’s Robbie Dixon placed fifth and sixth, both within 0.2
seconds of the podium. It was Dixon’s best result since joining the national
speed team this season by 32 positions, and Kucera’s best result in a speed
event this season.
According to Alpine Canada,
Dixon was also the youngest athlete to finish in the top-40 of Kitzbuhel.
“We all thought it was a
matter of time before he had a big breakthrough,” said men’s head coach Paul
Kristofic. “He skis very fast in the training, winning training runs. We
started him in a bunch of World Cup races this season to get him up to speed on
where his race day form needs to be. He obviously figured that one out today
with great splits all the way down.”
Two other Canadians finished
in the top-20, with Erik Guay in 11
place and Francois Bourque in
. Manuel Osborne-Paradis, a bronze medalist the week before,
struggled a little on the course, but still earned points in 29
The winner of the race was
Marcho Buechel of Liechtenstein, followed by Hermann Maier of Austria — once
the most dominating skier in the world, but who has never wholly regained his
form since a crash on his motorcycle that nearly cost him his leg. Third place
went to veteran Didier Cuche of Switzerland.
This being Kitzbuhel, all
athletes in the top-30 won a share of the prize money with Buechel getting the
top award of 50,000 Euros. Kucera and Dixon won 5,000 and 4,000 Euros
In the downhill, arguably the
biggest of the season without an Olympics or World Championships, Erik Guay was
the top Canadian in ninth place, while Kucera was 13
Didier Cuche won the gold
medal, followed by Bode Miller of the U.S. and Mario Scheiver of Austria, who
tied for second place.
The last event was a
combined, with a run on the slalom and downhill courses. Paul Stutz was the top
Canadian, placing seventh overall and breaking into the top-10 for the first
time in his career. John Kucera was one spot back in eighth.
In the slalom, which was also
a standalone event, Whistler’s Mike Janyk was the top Canadian in 15
Patrick Biggs was 21
and Paul Stutz 25
Janyk missed the start of the
season with a back injury, but has not finished outside of the top-30 in a
World Cup since his return and is improving with every race.