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Janyk’s earn national slalom titles



Brydon, Janyk’s claim five national alpine titles in Quebec

Whistler skiers Britt and Michael Janyk made national skiing history as the first siblings to ever win national titles the same year in the same discipline.

The Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships wrapped up in Quebec on Wednesday with the slalom races after a chaotic week of snowstorms and rescheduling.

For Britt it was her seventh national title in the past three years, and her second title of 2004 after winning the GS earlier in the championships. Michael was also solid, placing in the top-10 in two other events before earning his slalom title.

Some of the technical racing categories had more than 130 athletes taking part, including the top FIS club racers, provincial team members, national development team members, and World Cup level racers. The speed events had fields with more than 70 racers.

The alpine nationals got underway on March 18 and ran until March 24.

The first national title went to Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Quebec for a solid performance in the downhill at Le Massif. Bourque is just 19, and is coming off a second-place finish in the world junior championship super G.

His time of one minute, 25.63 seconds was just .09 seconds faster than his teammate, 26-year-old Vincent Lavoie of Cap Rouge, Quebec.

Whistler’s Jeff Hume, in his first race since he sustained a head injury racing the Kitzbuehel downhill in January, was close behind the leaders with his time of 1:25.85.

"I’m happy with today because it’s my first downhill race since my injury, and I wanted to get the first one out of my system," said Hume, 24. "I didn’t feel really nervous because I got to the start late – I only had the time to warm up a little and get on my skis. I think that helped me."

Rossland’s David Anderson, who will be competing on the World Cup next season as the Nor Am overall champion, was fourth.

Also from Whistler, Whistler Mountain Ski Club racers Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Scott Hume (Jeff’s younger brother) were eighth and 10th respectively.

The women’s national downhill title wasn’t up for grabs that day, but they got a chance to run the course in a FIS-level competition. Fernie’s Emily Brydon took that race easily with a time of 1:28.76. Kelly VanderBeek of Kitchener, Ontario was second in 1:30.14, and Calgary’s Sherry Lawrence was third in 1:30.42. Whistler’s Britt Janyk was 10 th .

The following day the racers switched, with the women competing for a national title and the men looking for FIS results.

Brydon once again was the top racer, earning her second national title with a time of 1:28.02. VanderBeek was second in 1:29.42 and Brigitte Acton of Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario was third in 1:29.64. Britt Janyk was eighth.

The men’s FIS downhill went to Calgary’s John Kucera, followed by Bourque and Jeff Hume. Anderson was fourth once again and Osborne-Paradis tied Vincent Lavoie for fifth.

In the men’s super G on Saturday Lavoie and Bourque battled for first place. This time it was Lavoie who came out on top with a time of 1:19.11, over half a second faster than the national downhill champion. Julien Cousineau of Lachute, Quebec was third by one one-hundredth of a second.

Whistler’s Michael Janyk was seventh.

"It was lots of fun, way better than the downhill," said Janyk. "It was a great course set."

The women’s super G was to take place on Sunday, but the flurries that started Saturday afternoon kept up into the next day. The judges were forced to postpone the race when the visibility didn’t improve.

The snow also affected the team parallel slalom event that pitched the provinces against one another for the best combined time.

Sunshine and blue skies were back for Monday, and Brydon, 23, made the best of the cold and windy conditions to take her second national title of the season, winning the super G in 1:15.34.

"I’m really glad they held the race. It was really important for me to ski well and win the downhill and super G titles to end the season on a good note," said Brydon, who was worried that the super G event could be dropped if the weather didn’t co-operate. As it was the event didn’t get underway until noon as volunteers worked to clear fresh snow off the track.

Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec, a gold medal winner in a World Cup super G this season, was second in 1:15.62. Montreal’s Sophie Splawinski was third in 1:16.12.

Britt Janyk continued to improve in the nationals, moving up to fifth place.

In the men’s giant slalom at Mont Ste-Anne on Monday, Jean-Philippe Roy of Ste-Flavie, Quebec posted the fastest first run of the day. Although he tried to bridge the gap, Canmore’s Thomas Grandi – Canada’s top World Cup racer this season – couldn’t catch Roy, even with the fastest second run. Roy finished in 1:53.07 and Grandi a fraction of a second later in 1:53.14. Julien Cousineau was third.

Michael Janyk matched his sister’s performance in the super G, landing in fifth. Rossland’s David Anderson was eighth.

On Tuesday, Britt Janyk successfully defended her national giant slalom title for the second year, earning her sixth Canadian title in the past three seasons.

The 23 year old was in second place behind Genevieve Simard after the first run but turned the intensity up on her second run to take the GS.

"My goal was to win this race, and that’s what I did," said Janyk. "I was actually very happy after the first run even though I was second. It made me push even harder and stay focused on performing in the second leg.

"We could tell during inspection that the course ended in a real sprint, so it was important to just let it run. This was a close race, and everyone knew the competition (level) would be very high."

Britt Janyk’s time of 1:57.13 was less than half a second ahead of Simard’s 1:57.61. Sophie Splawinski was third in 1:58.06.

Fernie’s Brydon also made it into the top-10 with a sixth place finish.

Whistler’s big day was Wednesday, with Britt and Michael Janyk on top of the podium. Parents Bill and Andre were on hand to cheer on their children as they jumped into the lead with strong first runs, and held onto first place through a nail-biting second run.

"It’s a really important day for the family," said Britt, who was defending her slalom title. "I feel really happy with my win, but I’m also really excited for my brother."

Both Janyk’s are comeback stories this year. Britt suffered a knee injury in her first race of the season, and underwent surgery before making a mid-season comeback. Michael missed most of the 2002-2003 season with a knee injury of his own, earned a few World Cup starts with strong Nor Am and Europa Cup results.

"In slalom, anything can happen," said Michael, who turned 22 this week. "I’m coming off an injury and didn’t ski last season, so this is a great result for me – it’s beyond my expectations."

Michael’s time of 1:38.06 put him ahead of Ryan Semple of Ottawa, who finished in 1:38.27 to take the combined title with the best combined time in the downhill and slalom. Calgary’s Paul Stutz was third, edging out World Cup star Thomas Grandi.

Britt’s time in the women’s race, 1:17.99 was more than a second faster than Brigitte Acton’s time of 1:19.01. Emily Brydon earned yet another podium with her third-place time of 1:20.04.

Together the Janyk’s and Brydon earned five national titles for B.C.

The awards ceremony for the nationals took place on Wednesday evening, with more than $60,000 in prize money for the top finishers.

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