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Canadians win five medals at world juniors

Alpine program showing promise for the future

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The future of Canada’s alpine skiing program appears to be in good hands, with young skiers exceeding expectations at the World Junior Alpine Championships at Bardonecchia, Italy.

The world juniors wrapped up on Sunday, Feb. 27, with Stefan Guay, the younger brother of national team star Erik Guay, claiming the bronze in the men’s giant slalom. It was Canada’s fifth medal of the week.

"Our goal was three medals and we exceeded that by two," said Max Gartner, the chief athletics officer for Alpine Canada Alpin. "The last three years at the world juniors, the Canadians have outdone our expectations, winning three medals last year and four the year before. This performance by our younger athletes bodes very well for our outlook for Torino in 2006 and of course 2010 here in Canada. I am extremely proud of the entire team."

The GS title went to Austria’s Michael Gmeiner, followed by his teammate Florian Sceiber.

Guay came close to the win.

"I fell during the second run which cost me some time," said the 18-year-old development team member. "I am sure I could have had the fastest time overall if I hadn’t fallen, but it was a good day overall. I skied the rest of the course very well and I am happy to be on the podium."

Gareth Sine of Calgary won Canada’s first medal at the world juniors on Friday, finishing second in the men’s super G. He tied with Rok Perko of Slovenia, finishing just 0.05 seconds back of the time set by Austria’s Michael Gmeiner.

Sine also posted Canada’s best result in the men’s downhill, ending the day in eighth place. Whistler’s Robbie Dixon was 30 th .

Brigitte Acton of Mont Tremblant won the silver medal in the women’s giant slalom, finishing just 0.3 seconds behind Nadia Fanchini of Italy. Michaela Kirchgasser of Austria was third.

"After the first run I was in seventh place," said Acton. "I knew I had to attack for the second run, let go and take more risks."

Sophie Splawinski of Morin Heights, Quebec finished seventh for Canada in the GS, but made the podium in the combined event with a bronze medal performance.

Canada’s fifth medal went to Marie-Pier Prefontaine of Quebec, who won a silver in the ‘Junior B’ combined event for the younger skiers aged 15-16.

The junior world championships are held annually and are open to men and women aged 15-19 on Jan. 1. The top skiers in each senior discipline earn World Cup quota spots for the following season.

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