Veteran reaches milestone 250th World Cup race – most for any Canadian racer
Almost exactly 13 years ago, on December 13, 2008, Canada’s Marie-Michèle Gagnon (Lac Etchemin, QC) clicked into her bindings and launched out of her first World Cup start hut at La Molina in Spain.
Fast forward to today and take stock of a few fun stats to understand why the 32-year-old Canadian Ski Team veteran has become one of the most familiar faces on the white circus.
In addition to her five career World Cup podiums (first podium was a third place in slalom in 2012 in Are, SWE), plus four more podiums spanning all disciplines except giant slalom and downhill), and two World Cup victories (2014 Super Combined at Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, AUT, and 2016 Alpine Combined at Soldeu-El Tarter, AND), Marie-Michèle reached an momentous milestone today: her 250th World Cup start!
To put things into perspective, retired fellow Speed Queen, Emily Brydon, is the second Canadian female racer with the most World Cup starts at 203. Former racer and double World Champion, Erik Guay, is the second Canadian athlete across both genders with the most World Cup starts, also trailing behind at 231. On the global scene, Marie-Michèle ranks 26th on the list of FIS Alpine World Cup starts by women. Renate Goetschl (Austria) tops the charts with an impressive 408 World Cup starts.
While World Cup starts are by no means a singular indication of an athlete’s success, they are a strong metric of an athlete’s longevity on the circuit and versatility across multiple disciplines to be able to compete in more races each season.
While Mitch started her career focused on the technical disciplines, it wasn’t until 2019-2020 after recovering from injury that she decided to dedicate herself to the speed events.
The move has proven fruitful with consistent, four top 16 results in the first four Downhill and Super G races of this season already. But for Mitch, as she’s affectionately known by friends and famliy and teammates, these promising results have not yet been reason to celebrate. The experienced racer knows she’s got more in her and no doubt she hopes to repeat if not surpass her third-place result from last season in the Super G at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER.
Today’s DNF, which saw Mitch attack the top section of the Super G course with an aggressive anddirect line, only adds fuel to the fire. No doubt she’s putting this one behind and looking ahead to the Val d’Isère, FRA Downhill and Super G races on December 18-19.
This veteran athlete is still hungry for more and eager to be a medal contender in speed at the Olympics!