Thompson podiums for 5th time this season, Drury returns to big final

Thompson podiums for 5th time this season, Drury returns to big final

Photo Caption Photo: GEPA; Athlete: Marielle Thompson

Calgary, Alberta. (February 16, 2023) — After a few weeks off, Canada’s ski cross athletes were right back among the best in Reiteralm, Austria, this morning. Whistler’s Marielle Thompson skied to a second-place finish at the Austrian resort, finishing behind Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund. This marks Thompsons fifth podium of the season and 57th World Cup podium of her career.

“I’m really happy with how my day went; I showed some really good skiing and had some great speed in the final,” Thompson said. “Not quite enough to win today, but I’m really happy with second [place] and excited for tomorrow. Hopefully, it will be a good race.”

Thompson, 30, got out to a strong start in the final on a relatively flat first segment before holding off Germany’s Daniela Maier and Italy’s Joelle Galli, both charging from the back, looking to overtake the Canadian.

Hannah Schmidt of Ottawa and Prince George’s Tiana Gairns both qualified for the small final on Thursday, finishing sixth and eighth, respectively. Courtney Hoffos and Abby McEwan saw their day end in the quarter-finals, while Annie Tansley and India Sherrett didn’t make it through qualification.

On the men’s side, Toronto’s Kevin Drury narrowly missed out on the podium, finishing fourth in the big final, yet it was his best result of the 2023 season and the first time he had cracked the top four since a January 2022 race in Nakiska. Drury rose up to 16th in the World Cup standings with his top-four performance.

“It was an awesome day for me, definitely felt more like myself from 2020, pre-broken leg, so it was good to get those feelings back,” Drury said. “I was horrendous out of the start but managed to make some passes every round and got a little unlucky in the final, but I’m really happy with fourth place and looking forward to tomorrow.”

Sweden’s David Moaberg won the men’s race, with France’s Youri Duplesis-Kergomard and Bastien Midol rounding off the podium.

World Cup standings leader Reece Howden got in a physical battle in the quarter-final and saw his day end without a podium, while Kris Mahler, Brady Leman and Jared Schmidt were also ousted at that stage. Gavin Rowell didn’t qualify for Thursday’s knockout heats.

“That’s a crazy course, a lot of high speed. There’s a lot of turns, a lot of contact, but managed to keep it clean for the most part,” Drury added “I think tomorrow is going to be a little rowdier. Everyone’s second day likes to charge a little harder; they’ve seen where the passes are and where they need to block, so it’s just about picking apart tomorrow and seeing your opportunities when they come.”

The Canadian Ski Cross team is back in the start gate on Friday in Reiteralm at 3:30 am MT/5:30 am ET, taking on their final World Cup race before World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia, on Feb. 23-25.

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Mark Halliday, Alpine Canada

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