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U.S., Croatian skiers dominate downhill

Canadians respectable but no medals so far at FIS Alpine World Championships



The U.S. Ski Team made history last weekend with the one-two punch of Bode Miller and Daron Rhalves netting the gold and silver medals in the men’s world championship downhill at Bormio, Italy. Miller is the first non-European to be a downhill world champion, and it was also the first time two American skiers have finished first and second in any championship race.

Austria’s Michael Walchhofer and Fritz Strobl were third and fourth, respectively.

The Canadians, despite solid results in training, had to chalk the event up to another learning experience.

John Kucera of Calgary was the top racer, finishing 16 th . Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus Manuel Osborne-Paradis was 19 th , Quebec’s Erik Guay was 22 nd and Whistler’s Jeff Hume 30 th .

"I would have liked to have made the top-15 but this is my first world champ experience so I also have to look at my overall experience. So far I can say that is has been a great experience," said Kucera.

Osborne-Paradis was more critical: "I’m not really happy because I made more mistakes today than in my previous runs," he said.

Guay, who posted one of the fastest training times, was more than a little disappointed.

"I really didn’t ski well," he said. "I don’t know if it was because of my nerves but I didn’t manage to ski a clean run."

Hume, who finished sixth in a World Cup downhill this season, said his mistake was trying too hard.

"Things didn’t work for me all week in training so I was shooting to do my best today," he said. "I tried everything and pushed hard but sometimes that is not the right approach. I ended up making more mistakes than necessary by trying too hard."

The Canadian women had a better time, with Fernie’s Emily Brydon finishing 11 th – 0.01 seconds out of the top-10. Still, she was hoping to do better.

"This 11 th place is definitely disappointing," she said. "I was feeling 100 per cent this morning and I gave it all today. But I just made too many mistakes for it to be a winning run. I want to be a winner and this is certainly not the kind of result that is satisfying to me."

Kelly Vanderbeek of Ontario was 23 rd .

Janica Kostelic of Croatia has returned to the form that won her three Olympic medals in 2002.

In addition to winning the world championship downhill, she also won the gold medal in the combined event. Not only was it her first medal in a speed event, she is also on track to become only the fourth women to win three titles at a single world championship with a strong showing in the slalom event.

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