Disappointing day for Canadians
Forsyth injures knee, women shut out of halfpipe finals
By Bob Barnett
BARDONECCHIA, ITALY – Canadian pride and the Canadian Olympic Committee’s goal of finishing in the top three in the medal standings took a beating Monday in the mountains west of Torino.
No Canadians qualified for the final in the women’s halfpipe at Bardonecchia and Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus Allison Forsyth was one of three top skiers who had serious crashes in the women’s second downhill training run.
Forsyth sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament after crashing off a jump on the Fraiteve Olympique downhill course at San Sicario. She was airlifted to Torino where the injury was confirmed. She will be returning to Canada in the next few days.
American Lindsey Kildow and defending Olympic downhill champion Carole Montillet-Carles of France were also injured. Kildow, who has won two World Cup downhills this season, was airlifted to Torino. Montillet-Carles was undergoing tests at Sestriere Policlinic.
Last winter when the women’s World Cup tour stopped at San Sicario the downhill course was criticized for being too easy. More bumps and rolls were added for the Olympics and combined with the icy conditions it took its toll Monday.
“There is a lot of air,” said Canadian Kelly Vanderbeek, who was 15 th in the second training run. “You had to be proactive today. I held the race line and I focused on my feelings. You have to be aggressive.”
Fernie’s Emily Brydon was ninth Monday.
“Today was a lot better,” Brydon said. “Yesterday I didn’t know how to attack, and the slope is awesome. I didn’t go too mad because you have to save a lot of energy for the big day.”
Swiss Martina Schild won Monday’s training run in 1 minute, 55.52 seconds. Austrians Renate Goetschl and Alexandra Meissnitzer were second and third respectively.
Forsyth was one of seven Canadians seeking four start numbers in Wednesday’s Olympic downhill. She wasn’t a medal favourite in downhill but was considered a contender in super G and giant slalom. Forsyth won the bronze medal in GS at the 2003 world championships.
Other Canadian results Monday included Sherry Lawrence, 39 th ; Brigitte Acton, 40 th ; Shona Rubens 44 th ; and Genevieve Simard, 58 th .
Meanwhile, Sarah Conrad was the top Canadian in the women’s halfpipe, finishing 15 th . Whistler riders Dominique Vallee and Mercedes Nicoll were 21 st and 27 th respectively.
American Hannah Teter took the gold medal, while teammate Gretchen Bleiler claimed the silver. Kjersti Buaas of Norway prevented an American sweep of the medals by claiming the bronze, just ahead of Kelly Clark.