Sports » Features

Juniors off to strong start in worlds


Bourque claims bronze medal in downhill

Canadian skiers, age 19 and younger, are holding their own against the rest of the world in the FIS Junior World Alpine Championships at Maribor Slovenia this week, earning one medal on the first day of racing.

Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Quebec took the bronze medal in the downhill with a time of one minute, 10.19 seconds. He wasn’t too far behind the winning time of 1:09.61 set by Austria’s Romed Baumann and the second place time of 1:10.01 set by Italy’s Silvano Varettoni.

Bourque is no stranger to the junior championships, having won the world super G title in 2003. He entered the downhill on Tuesday expecting to do well.

"I sat down with Burkie (Canadian Alpine Ski Team head coach Burkhard Schaffer) and the goal we set out was to be in the top finishers," said Bourque. "To be on the podium is definitely in line with that goal. The course isn’t the most challenging but it is very flat at the top, which isn’t something I excel at. The bottom is fairly steep and turny, which plays into my strengths.

Three Calgary racers also finished in the top-15. Brad Spence was ninth, John Kucera 12 th and Gareth Sine 13 th . Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus Manuel Osborne-Paradis finished well ahead of the middle of the pack with a 26 th place run.

The Canadian women didn’t have as much success, with Sophie Splawinski of Montreal leading the way in 16 th place.

Maria Riesch of Germany took the win, followed by Lindsey C. Kildow of the U.S. and Daniela Mueller of Austria.

The World Junior Championships run until Feb. 15, and include downhill, super G, slalom, giant slalom and combined events.