Spotlight shines bright on Marielle Thompson and Canadian team in night event
Arosa, SUI (December 14, 2021) - The lights were bright Tuesday night in Switzerland giving Team Canada another chance to shine on the World Cup circuit.
On a shorter sprint track full of challenging rollers and turns, Canadians sent seven athletes through to the finals with Marielle Thompson continuing her commanding return to racing after suffering a second major knee injury in March in Sunny Valley, Russia.
The women’s big final brought big drama with an airborne crash taking Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund out of consideration and leaving Marielle and fellow Canadian Zoe Chore vying for position in the fray. Ultimately Marielle navigated the chaos, edging out Switzerland’s Fanny Smith to top the podium with Zoe claiming a third place, marking her first World Cup podium
"I feel awesome. Anything can happen in ski cross, so you kinda got to keep it going all the way until the finish," says Marielle. “I love the night event, it’s such a fun atmosphere.”
“I really enjoyed the start section, I found it very technical,” adds Zoe. “I really shine in the heats and that showed today, it was a lot of fun out there.”
The men’s event was as much a nail biter with Jared Schmidt finishing in 3rd place, his second podium in 2021 with the first occurring last season in Georgia.
“It started this morning when we had our qualifications, a lot of the guys skied really fast and I had a personal best of 6th in qualifications,” Jared explains. “After we went back to the hotel, I reactivated in between, and I was feeling really good today.”
Canadians Carson Cook and Brady Leman raced to 7th and 8th, rounding out the men’s small final and a strong showing for the team.
Carson built upon a good start to put together his 7th place finish and personal best result so far on the World Cup circuit. “Getting back into the start gate after not doing a lot of heats for a while, I just needed to reset after every heat and do what I know how to do best: pull hard out of the start and make it happen,” he says.
Overall, the team morale is riding high after successful back-to-back events from Val Thorens straight to Arosa, with the team event left to race tomorrow. The team event is run in a knock-out style format and functions as a two-competitor-per-team relay. The gate drops for the second athlete based on the time difference between the first two athletes. The first team to have both competitors across the finish line in the big final is the winner.
“I feel great about this podium. Stoked to be under the lights in Arosa,” says Jared. “The girls were crushing it all day and Brady and Carson were battling it out in the small final. It’s a great team result today.”
The team event will be streamed live on CBC, and the team will be in action next in Innichen, ITA December 18-20, 2021.
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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.