PyeongChang, KOR. (February 16, 2018) – It was another perfect day for ski racing at the 2018 Olympic Games and Team Canada came out charging the men’s super-G and ladies slalom events. 27yr old Erin Mielzynski (Collingwood, ON) led the Canadians with an 11th-place slalom result, while over at the super-G venue, 29yr old Dustin Cook (Ottawa, ON) laid down a fantastic run, finishing in 9th and the top Canadian finisher.
Matthais Mayer (AUT) took home the Gold, adding to his Gold medal in downhill from 2014. Running bib number 15, Mayer’s time of 1:24:44 overtook Kjetil Jansrud (NOR), who finished in third place, just +0.18 seconds off the pace. Beat Fuez (SUI) finished +0.13 seconds from Mayer, bringing home a Silver medal and adding to his Bronze from yesterday’s downhill.
With the first two racers not finishing their respective runs, radio reports were filling the airwaves to the athletes at the top of the hill, ensuring they knew the right line to take. The super-G track was in perfect condition and the rolling terrain created significant challenges for many of the racers.
In his first Olympic Games, Ottawa’s Dustin Cook kicked out of the gate with bib number four, attacking a perfect track with aggressive snow and performing under the pressure of the Games. Cook is no stranger to success at International competitions, finishing in second-place in the super-G at the 2015 World Championships. After battling back from knee surgery, Cook has had his sights set on PyeongChang, and his result today is a testament to his focus and preparation.
“I’m glad to perform under pressure on the biggest stage and that makes me happy,” said Cook after his race today. “We had a good plan. After yesterday I felt really confident and knew that I could perform well here and I went out and gave it pretty much everything I had.”
Veteran Manny Osborne-Paradis (Vancouver, B.C.) kicked out of the gate wearing bib number 26, the same bib number worn at last season’s World Championship super-G race where Osborne-Paradis finished in third. As a true downhill racer, Osborne-Paradis prefers open and fast courses, which was unlike the course set at today’s super-G event.
“This is not my best super-G right now and I have been working hard on fixing a lot of it at home at Panorama before heading to the Games. A top 15 or top 10 would have been a good result for me,” stated Osborne-Paradis after his race. “The Olympic experience here in Korea has been really, really great. The volunteers have been amazing and I think as far as Games go, it’s been one of the best.”
Rounding out the Canadian finishers was 23yr old Broderick Thompson (Whistler, B.C.) who finished the day in 23rd position, just +0.06 seconds off teammate Osborne-Paradis. Thompson’s best World Cup finish in super-G was a 47th at Kitzbuehel in 2017, so an impressive result at his first Olympic Games.
“Today was pretty good and I wish I could have got Manny by another +0.06 seconds but that seems to be how it goes,” reported Thompson post his race. “The experience here in Korea has been a dream but my original dream was to get a Gold medal at the Olympics so I’ll keep working on that and come back stronger in four years and then in eight years.”
20yr old James (Jack) Crawford (Toronto, ON) did not finish his run after taking flight and missing the next gate upon his landing. “I pushed out of the gate a little too excited and didn’t ski technically the way I normally do, and just wasn’t thinking about the line or anything, just trying to go as fast as I can and ended up missing a gate,” said Crawford post race. “Overall, my Olympic experience has been pretty fun.”
Over at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre, Sweden’s Frida Hansdotter was the surprise winner, bringing home Gold in a time of 1:38:63. Hansdotter sat in second-place after her first run and risked it all on her second run to bring home the Gold. Switzerland’s Wendy Holdener finished in second-place by +0.05 seconds, after winning the first run. Surprise Bronze medallist, 20yr old Katharina Gallhuber (AUT) destroyed the field on her second run, winning by +0.71 and moving up six spots to land on the podium.
The slalom track was prepared very well with great conditions, compact snow and ice from top to bottom. The top section of the course was steep and challenging, with the bottom section flattening out, allowing the racers to accelerate towards the finish line. The wind that challenged the races from a couple days ago returned during the second run, creating challenging conditions for the racers and ultimately impacting visibility and some performances.
In her third Olympic Games, 27yr old Erin Mielzynski (Collingwood, ON) was ready to compete after honing her skiing and mental game this season. Mielzynski blasted out of the gate wearing bib number 17 and was skiing with freedom and aggression, however a mistake just before the flats cost Mielzynski considerable time, landing her in 22nd position after the first run. Not deterred by a disappointing first run, Mielzynski skied incredibly well to jet her into 11th-place overall. Mielzynski’s was third in the second run, demonstrating her ability to compete with the best athletes in the world.
“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. “I’m proud of myself for getting out of a disappointed zone. I made a mistake and in our sport, mistakes are costly and mistakes can happen if you are an inch off, centimeter off or split second off.”
23yr old Laurence St-Germain (Saint-ferréol-les-Neiges, QC) got her first Olympic event under her belt, battling from start position number 29 to finish in 11th-place after the first run. St-Germain gained speed at every split throughout the run, setting her up for an exciting second run. While St-Germain’s second run wasn’t as smooth and fluid as her first, she finished with an overall result of 15th-place.
“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.”
Also attending her first Olympic Games, 22yr old Roni Remme (Collingwood, ON) kicked off her debut appearance wearing bib number 30 and finished in 29th position after her first run. Remme was the second racer out of the gate for the second run, taking advantage of a perfect surface and rhythmical course set. Remme skied relaxed with a strong attack, and despite a mistake at the top, Remme let it fly towards the bottom, finishing in 27th-place.
“It’s good to finally get these races off and it’s such an honour to be racing for Canada here,” said Remme from the mixed zone post race. “The first run the snow wasn’t exactly what I expected and my skis were getting pulled in weird directions, so it was really nice getting to run early in the second run. Unfortunately I made some mistakes, so I wasn’t able to capitalize on it, but I learned a lot, so that’s good!”
Next alpine event will be the ladies' super-G at 9pm EST on February 16th.
Canadian men’s super-G results
9 - Dustin Cook
22 - Manny Osborne-Paradis
23 - Broderick Thompson
Canadian ladies' slalom results
11 - Erin Mielzynski
15 - Laurence St-Germain
27 - Roni Remme
Full results here.
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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.