TWO TOP TEN FINISHES IN FINAL WOMEN’S ALPINE EVENT AT PARALYMPIC GAMES
Yanqing Alpine Centre, CHN (March 12, 2022) -- The final women’s event on the Ice River concluded this weekend, and the Canadian team had a strong showing with Michaela Gosselin (Collingwood, ON) and Katie Combaluzier (Toronto, ON) making short work of the challenging slalom track, placing 4th and 7th respectively.
Both women have made their debuts with the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team this season, qualifying for the Games with outstanding performances in both the 2021-2022 World Cup and World Championships events.
“Today’s race was a battle,” says Gosselin. “I pushed from start to finish and am proud of what I accomplished. Coming away with a fourth place at my first games with such an amazing team. I truly couldn’t ask for anything more, it has just been an experience of a lifetime to be here.”
“Feels really good to achieve my goal,” says Combaluzier, who was aiming for an improved result from yesterday’s giant slalom and a finish in the top eight. “The vibe has been great; the tech side of the hill has been really cool and it’s been great to explore the other side of the mountain. I wanted to ski like I knew how and put down two solid runs.”
As Combaluzier reflects on her first season and Games experience, she describes the feeling of freedom that skiing offers, no matter the equipment. “I used to be an able-bodied skier and when I got started sit skiing, it gave me the same feeling of freedom and independence in the mountains as I previously had,” she says. “I think having more people involved in sport and more awareness of sit skiing will allow more people to find that freedom.”
The last two years have been challenging for the team in general, with the cancellation of the remaining season in 2020 due to the pandemic, and no races in 2020-2021. Logistically, emotionally, and physically arriving in Beijing was an achievement in and of itself, which is reflected in both the athletes’ experience and that of the coaching and support staff as well.
“Beijing 2022 and the lead up has been extremely emotional,” coach Will Marshall reflects. “Everyone made huge sacrifices and jumped through many logistical hoops to be here.”
Despite the challenges, the strong performance of the entire team speaks to a bright future. “We were able push through with some incredible performances from the athletes that were able to capitalize on their days and reach the podium,” says Marshall. “With four different athletes on the podium and others with top 5 performances it shows great depth in all teams across all disciplines.”
The final men’s alpine event will take place March 12 with the slalom before Closing Ceremonies on Sunday, March 13.
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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.