PyeongChang, KOR. (February 23, 2018) – Today it was the ladies turn to take to the ski cross track at the Phoenix Park Freestyle Skiing and Snowboarding Venue, and the Canadian team was ready after an inspiring (and golden!) performance by the men two days ago. It was 2014 silver medallist Kelsey Serwa (Kelowna, B.C.) who captured gold and teammate Brittany Phelan (Mont-Tremblant, QC) taking home silver!
In yesterday’s qualification runs, Team Canada showed up to race, taking first, second, third and 11th-place positions, showing the world that they were ready to compete for gold. Defending Olympic Champion, 25yr old Marielle Thompson (Whistler, B.C.) was the fastest in the qualifiers, +0.22 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Serwa. In third-place, Canadian Brittany Phelan was +0.45 seconds off Thompson’s pace. Rounding out the Canadian contingent was 21yr old India Sherret (Cranbrook, B.C.) who finished qualifiers in 11th.
In the 1/8 final, Phelan and Serwa both advanced through to the quarterfinals, after leading their respective heats from the start. Thompson successfully navigated the wu-tang start feature however got caught in the mix with her competitors and went down off the first feature. Thompson got up and skied away but unfortunately did not proceed to the next round. In her Olympic debut, Sherret was holding well in her heat, sitting in second-place but got back off a feature mid-way down and landed hard on the crest of another feature. Sherret took a hard impact and was taken off course by the medial team.
In the quarterfinals, Phelan was in the third heat and held a commanding lead from the first feature to the finish, easily winning her heat. Next was Serwa in the fourth and final heat. After a strong start off the two-meter free-fall, Serwa held a strong position, leading her heat through to the finish and advancing to the semi-finals.
In the semi-finals, Phelan and Serwa were in the same heat, along with Alizee Baron (FRA) and Sanna Luedi (SUI). Serwa destroyed the start, blasting away from the pack and setting up the lead with teammate Phelan in hot pursuit. Serwa maintained the lead until Phelan found a passing lane and took it, leading the pack through to the finish, securing her spot in the big final. Serwa held onto second just behind Phelan, punching her ticket into the big final as well.
Just like the men’s big final, Canada also had two in the ladies’ big final, guaranteeing Canada with a podium finish. The Canadian duo of Serwa and Phelan are not only teammates but also best friends, ready to compete on the biggest stage together. World Cup leader Sandra Naeslund (SWE) and Fanny Smith (FRA) rounded out the big final heat, making this the toughest heat of the competition. It was Serwa who again had a fantastic start, getting out in front of the pack and she did not look back. Phelan came out of the first start features sitting in fourth yet held incredible patience, looking for her chance to make a pass. Naeslund and Smith were sitting in second and third halfway down with tight racing between them, providing Phelan with the opportunity to make a huge pass and launch into second. The Canadian duo held their focus with Serwa taking the gold and Phelan taking silver.
Team Canada Quotes:
“It was a different atmosphere from the moment we woke up this morning at 5am. Britt and I are morning people and so when the alarm goes off, we are like ok, yeh, good morning, we’re at the Olympics and finally here to race.”
“Everything came together really well, everyone was dialled from our staff to technicians. I got physio in between one of the heats and it was just great.”
“The crowd was fantastic and you could hear people cheering ‘Go Canada’, you know when we came down every run. It was perfect, everything was perfect.”
“You try to look through all the chaos that’s happening in front of you to find the opening. I saw my chance and took it.”
“Once over the last jump I was like, oh my gosh. We did it!”
“Day one from when I switched to ski cross from alpine, Kelsey has been super helpful and pretty much taught me everything in ski cross. She’s been amazing.”
Stanley Hayer – Head Coach, Canada Ski Cross:
“After that first heat, it was a bit of a roller coaster today. That first heat was a bit of a let down but we knew Kelsey and Britt were fast in training and those two performed.”
“That finals was unbelievable.”
“I’m obviously disappointed with how the race went today, especially having won seeding yesterday, but the fact that I know I can ski fast like I did yesterday is big.”
“I’m really proud that I was able to race here and compete for Canada, so that was an accomplishment in itself.”
“I’ve had a lot of people helping me and enabling me to get here, so I don’t know if it’s a miracle (I’m here) cause it’s a lot of people working hard. I’m really happy with how things went and the fact that I’m here, I’m super happy.”
Top 8 results:
Gold – Kelsey Serwa (CAN)
Silver – Brittany Phelan (CAN)
Bronze – Fanny Smith (FRA)
4 – Sandra Naeslund (SWE)
5 – Alizee Baron (FRA)
6 – Lisa Andersson (SWE)
7 – Sanna Luedi (SUI)
8 – Sami Kennedy-Sim (AUS)
Canadian ladies’ ski cross results
1 – Kelsey Serwa
2 – Brittany Phelan
17 – Marielle Thompson
18 – India Sherret
Full results here.
ABOUT ALPINE CANADA
Alpine Canada is the national governing body for alpine, para-alpine and ski cross racing in Canada. With the support of valued corporate partners along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, world championship and World Cup medallists to stimulate visibility, inspiration and growth in the ski community.