There hasnt been a lot to celebrate so far in the 2002 Winter Olympics. Medal favourites and top contenders are stumbling, crashing, or otherwise coming up short, and not just for Canada either.
In the downhill, the heavy favourite going into the Olympics was Austrias Stephen Eberharter. The 32 year old is leading the overall World Cup standings by more than 350 points. He has six World Cup downhill gold medals, and three bronze medals in 10 competitions, and has first place finishes in the giant slalom and super G this year.
In the Olympic downhill at Snowbasin he settled for third behind teammate Franz Strobl and Lasse Kjus of Norway. If you think that wasnt an upset, you didnt see Eberharters face at the finish line.
Canadas Edi Podivinsky, although he has been having trouble on the World Cup circuit in recent years, has always been a different story during the Olympics. At Lillehammer in 1994, he won a bronze medal in the downhill, becoming only the second Canadian male to medal in the downhill at the Games. Steve Podborski was the first.
At Nagano in 1998, Podivinsky finished fifth.
At the Salt Lake Games he crashed in the first training run and finished 24 th in the race. This was his last kick at the can as he will retire after this season.
"Its disappointing. You work so hard for something and then it just doesnt go the way you want. Im sure theres lots of athletes here saying the same thing. But I really felt this was going to be a great race for me. Even though I struggled all year I really prepared for this race," said Podivinsky.
His teammates, Darin McBeath of Calgary and David Anderson of Rossland, finished in 32 nd and 38 th respectively out of a field of 55 racers.
Despite the fact that they led the field in the womens downhill training, Canadas Melanie Turgeon, Austrias Michaela Dorfmeister, and Picabo Street of the U.S., finished eighth, ninth and 15 th respectively in the womens downhill race. Dorfmeister is currently the World Cup leader.
The gold medal went to Carole Montillet of France, who has only one World Cup gold medal to her credit, in the super G. Silver went to Isolde Kostner of Italy and bronze to Renate Gotschl of Austria, both of whom are strong medal contenders in any competition.
The 25-year-old Turgeon said she was happy were her eighth place finish.
"Ive done a lot of work to get back on track after the last couple of races on the World Cup so thats my own personal victory," she said.