PYEONGCHANG, KOR (March 13, 2018) — At the very first super combined race she has ever competed in, rookie Mollie Jepsen shocked herself by winning gold on the third day of racing at the Paralympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, making her a two-time medallist in three days. She shared the podium with fellow Canadian Alana Ramsay, who added to her hardware collection from these Games with a second bronze medal.
Jepsen (West Vancouver, BC) arrived in PyeongChang as a rookie with minimal World Cup experience, but has quickly shattered her own expectations with two big results; in addition to her super combined win, the 18-year-old won bronze in women’s downhill earlier this week. She pushed across the finish line on Tuesday in a combined time of two minutes, 32.70 seconds. When she looked up to see her name flash first on the leaderboard, Jepsen said she was “extremely surprised.”
“When I looked, I thought, ‘Oh my God! Really? Is that right?’”
The see-it-to-believe-it moment was even more thrilling because Jepsen has never before competed in the discipline. Although she has raced super-G and slalom separately, her Paralympic debut is the one and only time she has raced super combined – even in her junior career.
“Because I’ve never raced in a super combined, the expectations were quite low, which I think took the pressure off,” she said.
Jepsen was second heading into the afternoon slalom and Ramsay (Calgary, AB) was third. Superstar Marie Bochet of France made a crucial mistake during her first run and did not finish, leaving the door open for Jepsen and Ramsay, who both capitalized on the chance.
“Before I left the start, the only words going through my head were ‘be aggressive,’” Jepsen said. “I knew that if I just kept the tempo up, I could potentially do it.”
Jepsen did just that. In the slalom portion of the event, she was 1:34 seconds faster than Andrea Rothfus of Germany, who finished second overall. Jepsen credits her explosive run with two factors: first, refocusing her attitude, and second, pushing everything to the back of her mind when the start wand dropped.
“I’ve put a lot of work into my technical and tactical skiing,” she said. “Sometimes the base is there and it’s more of a mental issue that keeps me from performing the way I want to. I just kind of put all that behind me with no pressure in this race, and was aggressive.”
Ramsay builds on super-G momentum
Ramsay was third heading into the slalom portion of the race, maintaining her spot on the podium with a solid second run.
“This one feels really good. After super-G the other day, I felt really confident with my skills and on the hill,” Ramsay said of using the momentum from her bronze medal finish in super-G earlier this week to propel her in super combined. “Going down the hill, I could feel that confidence showing through. I had a really good training day yesterday, and I brought that into today. That’s what helped out.”
The 23-year-old says never losing focus has helped her succeed at these Games. “They always say to never give up on what you want. Keep pushing through. I’ve learned not to give up when things get tough and I definitely didn’t give up at all today.”
Favourites Marcoux, Oatway succumb to challenging conditions
Amid soaring temperatures as high as 17 degrees Celsius, Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) and Kurt Oatway (Calgary, AB) did not finish the super-G portion of the race.
A gold medallist in downhill just three days earlier, Marcoux -- who is guided by Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) -- was dominating the clock with a powerful run when he fell on his inside edge on a bumpy section of the course and did not finish. Marcoux also went out in nearly the same fashion during the super-G event two days earlier. Back-to-back slide outs are a disappointment for the 20-year-old, who was favoured to medal in both the super-G and the super combined.
Likewise, super-G gold medallist Kurt Oatway (Calgary, AB) was charging hard when he caught air going over a roller and landed off-trajectory. He wasn’t able to recover his line in time and missed a gate.
Braydon Luscombe (Duncan, BC) and Frederique Turgeon (Candiac, QC) also did not finish the super G run. Kirk Schornstein (Spruce Grove, AB) laid down a solid super-G run that set him up in fifth heading into the slalom, but he lost speed in his second run and finished ninth. Erin Latimer (Toronto, ON) finished seventh, and newcomer Mel Pemble (Victoria, BC) was ninth.
Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) did not start today’s race, but is scheduled to compete in the giant slalom and slalom events.
ALL CANADIAN RESULTS: Men’s and Women’s Super Combined, PyeongChang, South Korea
9 – Kirk Schornstein (Spruce Grove, AB) – Men’s standing
DNF – Braydon Luscombe (Duncan, BC) – Men’s standing
DNF - Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) and guide Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) – Men’s visually impaired
DNF - Kurt Oatway (Calgary, AB) – Men’s sitting
DNS – Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) - Men’s standing
1 – Mollie Jepsen (West Vancouver, BC) – Women’s standing
3 – Alana Ramsay (Calgary, AB) – Women’s standing
7 – Erin Latimer (Toronto, ON) – Women’s standing
9 – Mel Pemble (Victoria, BC) – Women’s Standing
DNF – Frederique Turgeon (Candiac, QC) – Women’s standing
NEXT EVENT: Tuesday, March 13: 8:30 PM ET - Men's and Women’s Giant Slalom
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