Races don't get much closer than the men's downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, on Saturday, where Whistler's Manuel Osborne-Paradis finished just one one-hundredth of a second back of his first podium since the 2009-2010 season. He missed close to two full seasons with injuries, and this was his best result since returning to the World Cup circuit in November.
"I've been fourth before but never one one-hundredth out," he said. "It sucks, but that's racing — the clock never lies. Being fourth is just one of those things. I was close, but really, I'm five-tenths away from first."
Osborne-Paradis said it was a windy day on the course, which blew the skiers sideways on some sections and forced them to tuck through other sections to carry their speed.
"It was gusting all over the place. We were just blown all over," he said. "You just try to stay as low as you can. Even in those sections where you wouldn't normally tuck you did today.
"I desperately wanted a top 10 and when I came through the finish I was pretty happy with the run."
A fourth place result puts him in the top 15 for rankings, and gives him a better chance of making the podium by having a higher bib number in remaining races.
Jan Hudec joined Osborne-Paradis in the top 10 in sixth place. Erik Guay and Benjamin Thomsen also earned points in the top 30 while finishing 26th and 29th respectively.
Whistler's Morgan and Conrad Pridy were in the race, placing 48th and 53rd, while John Kucera was 51st.
The Canadians didn't fare as well in the super G on Sunday, with Hudec leading the way in 16th. Jeffrey Frisch was 31st, Benjamin Thomsen 38th and John Kucera 45th while Erik Guay skied off course. The win went to Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway, followed by Georg Streitberger of Austria and Italy's Werner Heel.
It was the last speed event of the season, only the World Cup finals remain in Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The final technical events are in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
The women's speed team was also in action this past weekend at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. In the opening super G, Marie-Michele Gagnon was 38th, Marie-Pier Prefontaine 39th and Larisa Yukiw 41st. Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein was first, followed by Julia Mancuso of the U.S. and Tina Maze of Slovenia in a rare tie for second. It was Maze's 19th podium of the weekend, with the 20th coming the next day with a win in the downhill. Laurenne Ross of the U.S. was second in that event, followed by Maria Hoefl-Riesch of Germany. The only Canadian in the race was Marie-Michele Gagnon, who placed 36th overall.
Gagnon at last earned some points in the second super G on Sunday, placing 29th. Yurkiw was 35th.