PyeongChang, KOR. (February 25, 2018) – After 16 days of incredible competition, the Olympic flame was extinguished at the closing ceremonies and the Olympic flag was passed onto China who will host the 2022 Games in Beijing. The Games was full of personal bests, medal performances and incredible experiences for Alpine Canada athletes, as well as Team Canada winning a record 29 medals.
Alpine Canada sent a total of 13 alpine and eight ski cross athletes to the Games in 2018. 10 athletes made their first trip to the Olympics as competitors, gaining valuable experience they will inevitably carry forward throughout their careers.
The Medal Winners
It was Canada Ski Cross veteran Brady Leman who kicked off the gold rush for Alpine Canada, winning the men’s ski cross event. Leman is the first Canadian to podium at the Olympics in ski cross, going for the top shelf and bringing home gold. When asked about his day, Leman reported, “This is an amazing day today, to have everything come together like that on race day at the Olympics is incredible and it takes a huge team behind me.”
In her third Olympics, Kelsey Serwa gave Canadians something to cheer about, winning the ladies ski cross event in dominating fashion and adding another Olympic medal to her silver from Sochi in 2014. And to make this victory even sweeter, teammate and best friend Britt Phelan who crossed the finish line just behind Serwa, capturing a silver medal. This was Phelan’s second Olympic Games, having competed in alpine in 2014 and switching to ski cross two years later.
After Serwa and Phelan’s banner performance, the media had a field day with the self-proclaimed #dirtsquirrels. Beaming with pride, Serwa reported from the media zone, “We woke up this morning at 5 a.m.," Serwa said. "Britt and I are morning people. So the alarm goes off and we're like, 'Good morning, let's go, we're at the Olympics, we're here to race.'” Phelan attributed much of her success to her teammate and BFF, reporting post race, ““Day one from when I switched to ski cross from alpine, Kelsey has been super helpful and pretty much taught me everything in ski cross. She’s been amazing.” And asked what it was like to know you were about to be an Olympic medallist, Phelan stated, “Once over the last jump I was like, oh my gosh. We did it!”
In the ladies’ event, Team Canada has won gold in the past three Olympics since the inception of ski cross in Vancouver, as well as winning silver in the past two Games. Brady Leman becomes the first Canadian male to win a medal at the Olympics in ski cross.
In the men’s super-G, Dustin Cook was the top Canadian and put down his season best performance, finishing in ninth place. “I’m glad to perform under pressure on the biggest stage and that makes me happy,” said Cook after his race. “We had a good plan. I felt really confident and knew that I could perform well here and I went out and gave it pretty much everything I had.”
In the men’s giant slalom, Erik Read battled in each run, moving up 16 spots to finish a season best 11th-place. “I’m happy with today; It’s my best result of the season and the Olympic Games is such a cool atmosphere, so to come in for my debut and get a nice result like that is great,” a very happy Read reported post race. “I’m optimistic about the future; for sure one day I want to stand on an Olympic podium and this is a great stepping stone.”
In their second Olympic Games, Phil Brown and Trevor Philp performed well, putting down personal best performances at the Olympics in giant slalom. Philp finished in 18th-place and Brown finished in 27th. “I gave myself a bit of a challenge after first run and was a little further back than I wanted, so second run had to go out there and push everywhere,” said a happy Philp after the race. “At the end, it was a good run and I am happy I was able to move up a bit.”
On the ladies side, it was 21yr old Valérie Grenier who at her first Games, finished the alpine combined in sixth-place for a personal best performance. “Honestly, I’m really, really happy. I couldn’t ask for anything better,” said an elated Grenier from the media zone. “It feels amazing to know I was sixth at the Olympics behind so many good slalom girls.” Grenier also finished in 21st in the downhill and 23rd in super-G.
Also in her first Olympic Games, slalom ace Laurence St-Germain finished in 15th-place against a tough field and challenging conditions. “First run coming down in 11th I was not expecting that, so I was really happy,” St-Germain reported post race. “Second run I went a little safe but still solid so it’s hard to be not happy, but still overall, it’s a really good day and one of my best results of the year, so I can’t ask for anymore.”
Olympic veteran Erin Mielzynski was ready to compete in her third Games, using the past two experiences to set herself up to manoeuvre through the busy and stressful Games environment. While Mielzynski was ultimately disappointed in her 11th-place slalom performance, she demonstrated brilliance in her second run, finishing with the third fastest time. “To be honest I was hugely disappointed after first run; it was a lot of work into that run and to make a mistake on one turn and have it be two seconds costly was a hard one to take. I think that’s where my maturity stepped in, I’ve been doing this a long time now and I told myself it’s not over till it’s over,” said Mielzynski after the race.
Alpine Canada congratulates all athletes who represented our Country and organization with grace, passion and Olympic spirit. Next up, the World Cup tour continues for both alpine and ski cross athletes. Stay tuned throughout the remainder of the season for ongoing news and updates.
ABOUT ALPINE CANADA
Alpine Canada is the national governing body for alpine, para-alpine and ski cross racing in Canada. With the support of valued corporate partners along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, world championship and World Cup medallists to stimulate visibility, inspiration and growth in the ski community.