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Thompson claims Crystal Globe with dramatic victory

Whistler skier comes from behind to wrap up season title



Whistler's Marielle Thompson won her second ski cross Crystal Globe in dramatic fashion, earning a come-from-behind win at the final World Cup race of the season on Sunday, March 23.

Needing to beat Swiss skier Fanny Smith straight up at La Plagne, France, to secure the season title, Thompson went head-to-head with Smith in the final, falling behind early before executing a pass that put her in front for good.

"I knew that everything came down to that last run down the course, so that was pretty intense, especially being behind out of the gate and having to make that pass," said Thompson.

"I was kind of nervous because there was so much riding on that one run, but once I was in the gate I was in the zone and comfortable."

Thompson and Smith, winners of the previous two women's ski cross Crystal Globes heading into Sunday's race, were separated by just five points in the standings to set up the thrilling finish at La Plagne. Thompson, who won Canada's first-ever ski cross Globe in 2012, said her second one feels a little extra special.

"This one feels really great, especially because the last one, people kind of always put that little asterisk beside it saying, 'Everyone was injured, and Marielle was kind of the only one left standing,'" she said. "So I'm glad that I can prove to myself, as well as others, that I can be the best and it wasn't a fluke."

Sunday's win wrapped up a tremendous season for the 21-year-old, who won Olympic gold last month as well. She placed in the top five of every race this winter, a streak that extends back into last season, including her 2013 world championship silver medal.

"I put in so much hard work in the gym in the offseason," said Thompson. "The main goal for me was the Olympics, and then once I realized my Olympic goals, I kind of had to refocus and think about the Globe and make sure my skiing was where it needed to be to be competitive again.

"I'm just really happy that I could realize all my goals and not disappoint myself."

Thompson, who has not been home since before the Olympics, is expected to arrive in Whistler on Tuesday night, March 25, with her Sochi gold and Globe in tow.

"I'm really glad to be able to have a little down time and celebrate with everyone," she said.

Teammate Georgia Simmerling finished third on Sunday, vaulting her up to sixth in the season standings. Calgary's Brady Leman also collected a bronze in the men's event, finishing the year ranked eighth.

Whistler's Dave Duncan did not compete at La Plagne, his third consecutive race missed due to injury, but still finished the year as the top-ranked Canadian in sixth place. That matched his previous career best from 2012, when he was also sixth in the standings at the end of the campaign.

Sweden's Victor Oehling Norberg won the men's Crystal Globe.

Read more in the Thursday, March 27, edition of Pique.