Yanqing Alpine Venue, China (February 15, 2022) – The 13th day at the 2022 Beijing Olympics featured the world’s fastest women vying for prized medals in the downhill.
Entering the race as a podium contender following her 5th place finish in yesterday’ final training run, Canada’s Marie-Michèle Gagnon from Lac Etchemin, QC, 32, launched out of the start gate with bib 8. Competing in her first-ever Olympic downhill, the team veteran skied a clean run from top to bottom, tying for 8th place with Austria’s Mirjam Puchner with a time of 1:33.45.
“I’m happy with my run,” tells Gagnon, a three-time Olympian whose result today surpasses her previous best Olympic 9th place achieved in slalom at the Sochi Olympics in 2014.
“My skiing was solid and consistent with how I’ve been skiing all winter in the discipline. Of course, I wanted more but I’m happy with how I skied and knowing I did my best. I’ve been close to the podium on a few occasions this season but today, the top girls were just amazing,” she adds.
Gagnon, who started her career as a technical skier, has been skiing exclusively in the speed events in recent years. Out of her 258 career World Cup start - the most of any Canadian ski racer - Gagnon has raced in 33 downhill races.
“This is definitely my last Olympics and I’m just so thankful to have experienced these Games fully healthy, strong and as a podium contender,” tells the skier who made her Olympic debut in 2010 in Vancouver and was forced to sit out of the PyeongChang Games due to season-ending injuries.
“Of course, I would have like to wrap things up and come back home with an Olympic medal, but I’m proud of my Olympic experience in general.”
“I’m starting to feel the string of last career moments with this being my last Olympics and possibly my last time racing here so I’m trying to slow down, appreciate the moment, and take it all in”, adds Gagnon racer who prides herself for having achieved top 5 World Cup results in all ski racing disciplines over the course of her extensive career and also having had Olympic starts in all 5 disciplines.
“It’s definitively a highlight to be sharing all these special experiences with my teammates, my family and my friends,” concludes the skier who will be leaving Beijing to prepare for the next block of World Cup events.
Roni Remme, from Collingwood, ON, who turned 26 years-old on Valentine’s day, was the 31th racer down the course. Hoping to build valuable experience in preparation for the women’s alpine combined event coming in the next days, Remme had to battle a long course hold and changing light when she skied down. She crossed the line with a time of 1:35.36, putting her in 24th place overall, just one spot shy of improving on her best Olympic downhill result of 23rd achieved at PyeongChang in 2018.
“With the hold, and the light change, it wasn’t ideal for me today,” admits the two-time Olympian whose career best World Cup downhill result is 25th achieved at Crans Montana, SUI in 2020.
Although disappointed with her result, Remme remains laser focused on the alpine combined where she will be the sole Canadian competing. The University of Utah graduate who holds a degree in Psychology and minor in Business has a promising track record in the discipline, with a World Cup career 2nd place in Altermarkt-Zauchensee, AUT and a 5th place at the 2019 World Championships in Are, SWE.
The women’s Olympic downhill was won by Switzerland’s Corinne Suter who completed the course with a dominant run and a speedy time of 1:31.87. Swearing bib 15, Suter snuck in front of Italy’s Sofia Goggia (bib 13) who came 2nd 0.16 off the pace and Nadia Delago (bib 11) who finished third 0.57 off the winning pace.
Olympic action continues tomorrow with the men’s slalom featuring Erik Read (Canmore, AB) and Trevor Philp (Calgary, AB). Women will compete in the alpine combined the following day. The team parallel event will then mark the conclusion of these Games.
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