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Turgeon, Guay, Williamson receive top ACA awards

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McNeney honoured with President’s Award

The youth and determination of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team were recognized at the launch of the Alpine Canada Alpin (ACA) Congress in Ottawa last week, with the presentation of Athlete of the Year Awards.

"Ski racing in Canada is gathering strong momentum and the results of our athletes showcase the immense potential of our team and programs across the country," said ACA president Ken Read.

Despite a slow start compared to her previous seasons, there was no question that the women’s Athlete of the Year Award belonged to Melanie Turgeon.

In February, the 26-year-old from Quebec City put her entire season behind her with an incredible win in the world championship downhill at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Her confidence restored, Turgeon returned to the World Cup where she was fifth in the final downhill of the season. She finished the year ranked eighth in downhill and 14 th in the super G.

The men’s Athlete of the Year Award went to 22-year-old Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant.

He finished off this season with a strong performance in the national championships at Whistler, winning the super G and finishing fifth in the giant slalom.

Although he was injured at the start of the season, he made a strong comeback on the World Cup circuit. At the world championships, he was sixth in downhill, 17 th in combined, 18 th in slalom, and sixth in the super G.

The Canadian Alpine Ski Team’s Breakthrough Male Athlete of the Year was Julien Cousineau, also 22, who returned from a string of injuries to earn his first World Cup points back in January, finishing 10 th in the giant slalom and 12 th in the slalom at Wengen, Switzerland.

The Junior Athlete of the Year Awards were presented to Francois Bourque of New Richmond, Quebec, and Brigitte Acton of Sault-Ste. Marie, Ontario.

Bourque, 18, was named to the national team this season after winning super G gold in the junior world championships. He was also sixth in the downhill, and 14 th in the giant slalom, racing in all disciplines.

Acton, also 18, was a Nor Am champion this season, and finished second in the giant slalom and fourth in the slalom in the nationals. In the junior world championships, she was second in the super G.

The Canadian Disabled Alpine Ski Team also handed out a few well-earned awards at the ACA congress.

The CDAST Athlete of the Year Award went to blind skier Chris Williamson of Toronto. Williamson, 30, won two gold medals, two silvers and a bronze last season, and plans to keep racing until the Paralympics in Turin, Italy in February of 2006.

CDAST presented their Breakthrough Athlete of the Year Award to 27-year-old Karolina Wisniewska of Banff, the World Cup overall champion at the end of the 2002-03 season. She took one gold, three silvers and a bronze, and never finished out of the top-five.

Bill McNeney of Squamish, who has served as chief of race for numerous World Cup events at Whistler and for the last few years has been in charge of course safety at events across the country, received the President’s Award.

Other awards presented by the ACA on Sept. 11 include:

CIBC Most Valuable Coach – Burkhard Schaffer

Andrzej Kozbial Coach of the Year – Piotr Jelen

CDAST Breakthough Female Athlete of the Year – Karolina Wisniewska

CAST Breakthrough male Athlete of the Year – Julien Cousineau

CAST Junior Athlete of the Year – Francois Bourque and Brigitte Acton

CDAST Athlete of the Year – Chris Williamson

CAST Senior Male Athlete of the Year – Erik Guay

CAST Senior Female Athlete of the Year – Melanie Turgeon

ACA Volunteer of the Year – Dick Porteous (posthumous)

ACA Official of the Year – Sandie Hales, B.C.

Max Meier Award for Division of the Year – Ontario

President’s Award – Bill McNeney

Steve Podborski Award – Caroline Brault, Mont Olympic Ski Club.

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