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No medals for speed teams at ski world championships

Erik Guay skis off course in all-or-nothing bid to defend title



Canada's podium streak in the FIS world alpine championship downhill came to end last weekend when Erik Guay skied out during his run.

John Kucera took the title in 2009 and Erik Guay defended it in 2011, but the Schladmingl, Austria, race went to Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal.

Guay is on a bit of a streak lately and was solid in training. On race day, his first three splits had him sitting first, second and first before the mistake.

Going back to Jan Hudec's silver medal in the 2007 world championships, Canadian speed skiers had been on the podium for three races in a row.

For Guay, who needs one more World Cup podium to tie Steve Podborski's record, it was a disappointing day on the long, technical Planai downhill course at Schladming. "I knew at the start that I didn't want to come down here and finish fourth or fifth so I took some chances," he said. "Unfortunately I just hooked an edge and as quickly as that it was over.

"It's a little bit disheartening for sure. I had a good race out of the start. I was in the right place, I was skiing well. My head wasn't really in it through the bottom section (after making a mistake) and I ended up going out. It was just a little bit of bad luck."

Jan Hudec led the way for the Canadian team in ninth. Benjamin Thomsen and Manuel Osborne-Paradis were 17th and 18th respectively.

Dominik Paris of Italy and David Poisson of France joined Svindal on the podium.

Larisa Yurkiw is the only Canadian woman racing downhill this year, and placed 28th in the women's event. She was skiing well in the training and expected a breakthrough day on Sunday but fell short.

"I had such a good feeling today. I'm pretty disappointed," she said.

"I wanted really badly to just relax and ski the way I can and fix the things I wanted to and stick to the plan. I felt I did that but I made some mistakes and got a bit rattled."

Marion Rolland of France took the women's title, followed by Nadia Fanchini of Italy and Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany.

American Lindsey Vonn, the most dominant ski racer of this generation — although this year's title would go to Slovenia Tina Maze — landed a jump too far forward during the opening super G race, tore two ligaments and broke her leg. She flew back to the U.S. aboard Tiger Woods' jet and underwent surgery over the weekend in Vail, Colorado. She's expected to recover, but it will take months before she's back on skis and the 2014 Olympic Winter Games are just one year away.

Tina Maze won the women's super G title, followed by Lara Gut of Switzerland and Julia Mancuso of the U.S. Yurkiw was 23rd in that event, which was an improvement of sorts for the young skier.

The men's speed team had a disappointing day, failing to break the top 10. The top Canuck was Jan Hudec in 12th, followed by Manuel Osborne-Paradis in 16th, Benjamin Thomsen in 19th and Eric Guay in 23rd. The win went to American Ted Ligety, a skier better known for his skills in giant slalom than speed events. Gauthier De Tessieres of France was second and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway third.

The women's super combined event also took place this week, with Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany in first, Tina Maze in second and Nicole Hosp of Austria in third. Larisa Yurkiw raced the downhill leg for extra training, but did not take part in the slalom.

In the men's super combined, Romed Baumann of Austria took the gold, followed by Aksel Lund Svindal and Christof Innerhofer of Italy. No Canadians competed.

In the team even on Tuesday, Canada came close to a bronze medal with Mike Janyk and Erin Meilzynski both having good days. They made the small final where they placed fourth after losing a close race to Germany. Austria took the win, sweeping the Swedish team in the final races.

The FIS World Ski Championships continue this weekend with the slalom and giant slalom races.