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Canadian women strong in World Cup finals

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Canada’s Melanie Turgeon finished the season on a note only dogs can hear with a silver medal performance in the super-G at the World Cup finals in Are, Sweden, on March 9.

It wasn’t easy. Poor visibility prompted course officials to cancel the men’s race and the women’s course was shortened considerably, to 1,788 metres. As a result competitors had a lot less room for error – only 12 of 21 racers actually finished the race.

"It was not a perfect run, I made a mistake but I kept in the game," said Turgeon, who hails from Beauport, Quebec. "When I made the mistake, it pushed me to the limit. I thought that it’s the last race of the season and I have to finish in a good way."

Turgeon crossed the finished line with a time of one minute 10.21 seconds, 0.69 seconds back of Corrine Rey Bellet of Switzerland. Regine Cavagnoud of France finished third to take the overall super-G title by 83 points over Renate Goetschl of Austria.

This season, Turgeon has made four podiums, seven top fives, and numerous top 10s and top 15s to become Canada’s pre-eminent alpine skier. She finished 12 th in the overall World Cup standings, with a fourth in the super-G rankings, and a sixth in the downhill. A day earlier, Turgeon missed the podium by one-tenth of a second to finish fourth in the final downhill of the season. Hilde Gerg of Germany came out of nowhere to take the gold, while title winner Isolde Kostner of Italy had to settle for second. Sylviane Berthod of Switzerland was third.

"I wanted to finish the season on the podium," Turgeon said. "Fourth in super-G and sixth in downhill – ending with this kind of result I should be able to spend my summer in peace. I was a regular in the top-10 this season.

"The first race I went out so it cost me a lot. This consistency is what I am looking for, to have a crystal ball in my living room in the future."

On the day after Turgeon won silver, Nanaimo’s Allison Forsyth, 22, just missed a podium of her own, finishing two-tenths of a second out of third in the season’s final giant slalom.

Starting with bib number 14, Forsyth clocked one of the fastest runs of the day to move up to sixth after her first run. Another solid run moved her up into fourth.

"I learned a lot mentally this season," said Forsyth. "It was actually a tough year for me… I was focused too much on the results and not on the actual skiing. I was too concerned to prove that last year wasn’t a fluke.

"I did prove that but it was the wrong approach. By halfway through the season I pickup up my form and confidence and I’m very happy with how it ended up."

Although Forsyth finished the season in eighth place in the final giant slalom standings, she will begin next season ranked fifth in the discipline after her sixth place in the World Alpine Championships has been factored in.

Switzerland’s Sonja Nef won the GS race, finishing almost two seconds ahead of Anja Paerson of Sweden. Ylva Nowen, another hometown Swede, finished third.

No Canadian men qualified for the World Cup finals, for the first time ever.

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