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Going for Gold

Canadians on various podiums, including Miss Europa Cup

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In the past 10 days I have skied in eight races and travelled through four different countries and the whirlwind tour ended with something that I never could of imagined happening this year: on Sunday I started in the slalom World Cup race in Berchestgaden, Germany while my brother, Michael started in his first World Cup slalom race of his career in Kitzbuhel in front of tens of thousands of Austrian fans. My parents, I’m sure, will put that day in the history books.

It was great to go and do some Europa Cup races. The atmosphere is a little bit more relaxed than at World Cup races and I know that I can be one of the fastest. I might have easily spent the week training and preparing for the races in Berchestgaden but I knew that I needed to race. During the week, out of the four giant slalom races I had three top five finishes, one of those being a first place finish. This was exactly what my skiing needed, a little bit of confidence.

At the races there was great competition; Europa Cups can be just as strong as some World Cup races. For example at these past races people like Andrinne Flemmen, one of Norway’s top skiers, was racing for that specific reason, to build her confidence in races. Switzerland’s Fraenzi Aufdenblaten, the winner of one of the Europa Cup races last week, finished sixth this past weekend in Berchestgaden.

Most of the time, in order to move from a 15 th place finish to a first place finish your skiing just needs a little bit more mental confidence. Coming into the races last week my confidence was low. I knew I needed good results but I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it happen. At those races I learned that sometimes you need to make your own confidence; you can’t wait for the results to come. I used a lot of positive self-talk and took it day by day. With that mind frame the results came and my confidence in races began to grow. The combination of some races with a little less pressure and a familiar atmosphere allowed me to find that frame of mind.

Amongst all of the races last week my teammates and I were still able to find some time to let loose and have a little fun. Usually it’s all work but not when you’re in St. Sebastien, Austria for the Miss Europa Cup competition. That’s right, the Miss Europa Cup competition, an annual event that cannot be missed.

Every country at the race enters one girl into the competition that will be performing on stage based on the outline given by the judges. In the first round you must do something that is native of your country. Then in the second round you must perform a special talent. All of the teams get right into it; there are tons of costumes, lots of laughs and some very original performances. It only began about four years ago and the Canadians took first place that year. This year we were close but the Swiss took first place and we were runner up. I don’t think the judging was completely fair!

To wrap up I would like to mention some of our results this past week. On the women’s technical side we had some great results this past weekend in Berchestgaden, Germany. Genevieve Simard placed third, her first podium of her career in World Cup racing. On that day Allison Forsyth also finished seventh overall, making it a first in a long time to have two Canadians in the top 10.

I would also like to mention our Miss Europa Cup contestant, Sherry Lawrence from Alberta. On that day it was her birthday and in the ski world it is tradition that you "pie" the person. So, on stage we pied her in front of everyone. She laughed and was a great sport about it, but now the cat is out of the bag and we know her birthday falls around that event. She may not be safe around us ever again.

Congratulations to my teammates for all their successes. It is fun to be on a team that is part of the world scene and being noticed.

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