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Whistler athletes on top at freestyle nationals



Bradley and Bellavance golden, Kerfoot silver and bronze at Apex

It was a golden finish for Canadian freestylers Tami Bradley and Scott Bellavance. Both skiers wrapped up their World Cup seasons and their careers on Sunday the way every athlete hopes to go out – on top.

At the Canadian Freestyle Ski Championships in Penticton last weekend, both captured gold medals in the dual moguls event. Bradley, who lives in Vancouver and Whistler, edged out Sylvia Kerfoot of Whistler in the final dual of the day to win the gold.

"That was really great," said Kerfoot. "As much as I wanted to win, it was awesome to see Tami. She’s a great friend, and she has worked so hard over the years. I know how much she deserved this."

Kerfoot was happy with her silver medal, her second of the Canadian championships. She won a bronze in the single moguls event two days earlier.

Bradley’s toughest challenge of the day came in the semi-finals, when she faced Kristi Richards of Penticton. Richards, 21, had won the single moguls gold and has been solid in her first World Cup season.

"I was on a mission," said Bradley, 32. "Kristi was the girl to beat."

Richards went on to claim the bronze medal in her small final dual against Pascale Lamarre-Biebuyck of Laval, Quebec.

Bradley has been with the national team for nine seasons, and has enjoyed some of the best results of her career in recent years. She has won seven World Cup medals, and a bronze in the World Championships competing at home in Whistler in 2001. She also represented Canada twice in the Olympics.

For Bellavance, 27, who hails from Prince George, the gold dual moguls medal wraps up his five years with the national team. Bellavance has also been skiing well as of late, winning two World Cup medals this season and placing sixth in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games.

Like Bradley, Bellavance faced some strong competition in the last rounds. He went head-to-head with Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau of Drummondville, Quebec in the semi-finals, and prevailed after Rousseau made an error in the lower section of the course.

"P.A. (Rousseau) is probably the biggest gun I’ve beaten in duals," said Bellavance. "I felt pretty good about beating the number two skier in the world.

Bellavance went on to face Warren Tanner of Grimsby, Ontario in the finals. Although the 22-year-old World Cup rookie has been off this season after finishing the 2001-2002 season ranked seventh in the dual moguls, Tanner turned it on for the nationals this year, winning gold in the single moguls. Although he was gunning for the dual moguls medal, he was happy with the silver.