Justin Lamoureux, just minutes after locking the silver medal in the FIS Snowboard World Championship McDonalds halfpipe, had strong praise for his teammates and what the Canadian Snowboard Federation accomplished last week on home turf.
"I think we showed that were one of the top teams in the world, as good as any team out there. Hopefully that will mean more funding and support, so we can continue to be one of the top teams," he said.
Canada finished the world championships with five medals: two gold medals by Jasey-Jay Anderson, in the parallel slalom and parallel GS; a silver by Francois Boivin and a bronze by Maëlle Ricker in the snowboardcross; and Lamoureuxs silver in halfpipe. While some will remember the rain that dogged the world championships, the medals will have a much more long-term impact on the Canadian program, both financially and emotionally.
After a soggy day of qualifiers, the halfpipe finals got underway under the lights on Saturday night at the newly built facility on Blackcomb. With a crowd numbering in the thousands lining the pipe, the top-12 men and top-eight women faced off with only the best of two runs counting.
From the beginning of the finals it was clear that only a perfect run would have the opportunity to win a medal any scrubbed landings or missed spins were costly.
In the womens competition, Manuela Pesko of Switzerland got off to a strong lead with a score of 41.9 for a consistent run with a good mix of airs and grabs up top, and back-to-back spins near the bottom. Doriane Vidal of France was ranked second, and Tricia Byrnes of the U.S. was third.
In the second round, Vidal pulled out all of the stops to lay down the biggest run of the day, with spins and grabs pushing 10 feet out of the frozen pipe. Her last two tricks were a huge 720, followed by an inverted crippler 180, both of which she landed perfectly.
Pesko had a chance to beat Vidals score of 45.7, but only managed to score a 43.4 on her second run. Vidal took the gold, her third consecutive womens world championship title after wins in 2001 and 2003.
"I knew Manuelas score and I knew I had to have a good run," Vidal said. "I wasnt happy with my landings on the first run. Ive been training well, but I didnt do what I was training. The second run was a lot better for me, I made all my grabs and landings," said Vidal, who was sporting a graze on her chin after falling earlier this week.