Zauchensee, AUT (January 15, 2022) -- In one of the most demanding stops on the World Cup circuit, speed queen Marie-Michèle Gagnon (Lac-Etchemin, QC) found a new gear on the steep, icy Austrian slopes finishing in 5th place and only a quarter second off the podium.
“I’m super happy, it definitely is awesome to have a personal best no matter when,” says Marie-Michèle. “It’s good to feel like I’m building going into the Olympics. That was always the goal, to build up to February and I’m definitely one of those skiers who likes to go one step at a time.”
The intense Kälberloch start gate has a 70% grade, shooting skiers into the course at over 100 km/h. Some may find this intimidating, but Marie-Michèle has always felt at home at this particular stop on the circuit.
“This course is really special to me, it’s where I had my first win. I won the combined in 2014 right before Sochi. The day before the combined I had my first downhill points ever as a slalom skier,” she says. “This track has always been a good track for me from Day 1, even before I was training to be a speed skier.”
This specific top five result also holds significant meaning. Not only is the 5th place finish her new personal best in a downhill event, Marie-Michèle now joins an elite league of ski racers who have achieved top five results in all racing disciplines: slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, and combined.
From here, the goal is to continue building momentum, one race at a time. Marie-Michèle is also happy to be a part of the surging Canadian alpine team who have been collecting hot results across the continent: “It feels natural to continue the momentum of our team right now! The women are just killing it, and Jack and some of the boys are having great results and it has been really inspiring to watch everyone do so well. I was excited for my turn to have a go at it!”
“Once I’m there in that strong, confident position, then I can really do well. I like progression and that gives me a lot of confidence.”
There is a super-G race tomorrow before skiers speed off to the next stop in the circuit in Cortina, ITA January 22-23.
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Alpine Canada is the governing body for alpine, para-alpine, and ski cross racing in Canada, as well as for Canadian ski coaches, providing education, certification, insurance, and compliance with the coaching code of conduct. With the support of valued corporate partners and donors, along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Coaching Association of Canada, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup athletes to stimulate visibility, inspiration, and growth in the ski community. In 2020/21, Alpine Canada celebrated 100 years of rich tradition in competitive skiing in Canada.