PyeongChang, KOR. (February 15, 2018) – After extreme winds derailed the men’s downhill and ladies' giant slalom schedules, it was all systems go today for both events under perfect conditions. At the downhill venue, Manny Osborne-Paradis (Vancouver, B.C.) led the Canadian contingent, finishing in 14th-place, while at the giant slalom venue, Candace Crawford (Toronto, ON) was the top Canadian in 25th.
In the men’s downhill, Aksel Lund Svindal was crowned the Olympic champion, with a winning time of 1:40:25. Fellow Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud won Silver, just 0.12 seconds back from Svindal, and Switzerland’s Beat Feuz brought home the Bronze, 0.18 seconds from the win.
With blue skies, clear visibility and a perfect surface, the field attacked the downhill track, searching for critical speed throughout. While this track is not the toughest, it requires a certain finesse and touch on the ski, which allows the racers to generate and carry speed from turn to turn. The smallest of mistakes took some of the top contenders out of contention.
In his fourth Olympic Games, 34yr old Osborne-Paradis had his preparation dialled and was ready for today after turning heads during training. “I’m happy with my skiing and my approach was good, and I think the work we put in this week and this season was on point,” said Osborne-Paradis. “All in all, it wasn’t the result I was looking for but I’m staying focused and we have another race tomorrow.”
30yr old Benjamin Thomsen (Invermere, B.C.) kicked out of the gate in his second Olympic Games, finishing the day in 28th position. “I’m going to look at the video with my coaches and assess how things went,” noted Thomsen following his run. “It felt good and I gave it my all, but I’m pretty disappointed with the result.”
Super-G specialist Dustin Cook (Ottawa, ON) finished the day in 32nd-place and will take the insights from the downhill into tomorrow’s super-G. “I’m pretty satisfied with today; the goal was to come in and put down a solid run and get ready for tomorrow,” said Cook from the media zone in the finish. “I’m happy with the skiing and I’m feeling ready to go and rock tomorrow.”
In his second event of the Games, 23yr old Broderick Thompson (Whistler, B.C.) finished the day in 35th position, gaining valuable experience in his first Olympics. “I thought I could have been faster, but I pushed and did what I really wanted to do,” stated Thompson after his race. “I’m looking forward to the super-G tomorrow.”
Over at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre, Mikaela Shiffrin was crowned Olympic champion, winning the ladies giant slalom with a time of 2:20.02. Shiffrin sat in second-place after her first run and risked it all on her second run to bring home the Gold. Norway captured its third alpine medal of the day with a standout performance by Ragnhild Mowinckel, who won the Silver medal, just 0.39 seconds off the pace. Rounding out the podium was Italy’s Frederica Brignone, capturing the Bronze in a time of 2:20:48.
The first run course set of the giant slalom was incredibly turny with a lot of rolls and terrain to navigate, creating very challenging conditions for the racers. The second run set was a bit more forgiving and allowed the racers to generate better flow and speed generation from turn to turn, however the rolls and terrain continued to challenge those who did not have the perfect approach.
In her Olympic debut, Candace Crawford led the Canadian team, finishing in 25th-place. Crawford snuck into the top 30 after her first run, finishing in 30th, creating a perfect second run approach as the first skier out of the gate. Post race Crawford reported, “I’m happy but I always want more. I would have liked a better result, but I can go away with some positive feelings.”
Also attending her first Olympic Games, 21yr old Valérie Grenier (St-Isidore, ON) battled hard and fought through a frostbitten toe to finish in 33rd after the first run. Grenier charged on the second run but hooked an arm on the gate, sending her off course and out of the competition. “It’s definitely awesome to be here at the Olympics but unfortunately I didn’t finish and I’m really disappointed with that", said Grenier post race. “I have to remember the good things that happened and move on to get ready for the next event.”
Next alpine events will be the ladies' slalom and men’s super-G – catch them both, starting with the ladies' slalom at 8pm EST on February 15th.
Canadian men’s downhill results:
14 - Manny Osborne-Paradis
28 - Benjamin Thomsen
32 - Dustin Cook
35 - Broderick Thompson
Canadian ladies' giant slalom results:
25 - Candace Crawford
DNF2 - Valérie Grenier
Full results here.
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