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canadaâ€™s snowsports journal
SPECIAL PREVIEW ISSUE
Volume 5, Number 3
Passion* Great athletes have great passion: for the exhilaration of going faster and further, for the thrill of testing their own limits and for the satisfaction of taking their sport to new heights. We follow their highs and lows for the sheer joy of watching great men and women give it everything they’ve got. Proud to say we support Alpine Canada Alpin.
*connectedthinking © 2009 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. “PricewaterhouseCoopers” refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, an Ontario limited liability partnership, or, as the context requires, the PricewaterhouseCoopers global network or other member ﬁrms of the network, each of which is a separate and independent legal entity. 5984-1209 Geneviève Simard photographed by ACA/Pentaphoto.
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sure he was born to shred.
Banff native and CAST Alumni, Paul Stutz
REAL is a special place where there are more mountains than million-dollar condos and where the real champions come out to play. Join them at three of the worldâ€™s finest ski resorts and almost 8,000 acres of terrain, all in the heart of Canadaâ€™s Protected PlaygroundTM, Banff National Park.
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CONTENTS January 2010, Volume 5, Number 3
EDITOR’S NOTE The evolution continues
PHOTO OF THE MONTH Steven Nyman hangs it out in Lake Louise
MAILBAG Readers chime in on safety of ski racing
SKIPARAZZI Aerials men bare all. Manny and Sasquatch
FREESTYLE FILES Kristi Richards back on top
ALPINE RACE REPORT Decimated alpine team not lowering Olympic goal
WHISTLER’S FANTASTIC FOUR: Rise of the Golden Skiers
SNOWSPORTS RACE REPORT Brian McKeever forced to play the waiting game
MASTERS A psychological approach to rebounding from ski injury
FUEL Eat right ... and save money
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: Special preview section
6 SRC www.srcmag.ca
NO GUTS, NO GLORY Yes, that’s 250 km/h!
By Gordie Bowles
SRC – The evolution continues January 2010 Volume 5, Number 3
elcome to the new world of SRC magazine. The facelift is complete. Regular readers of our magazine will notice a distinct difference with this
issue, from the way this thicker and higher-quality paper product feels to the perfect-bound finish, subtle design tweaks and
tle change in our tagline — from “the source for Canadian
snowsports news” to “Canada’s snowsports journal.”
Graphic Designer Senior Editors Senior Photographer
refined editorial. Readers with hawk eyes might notice the sub-
Why the changes? SRC has evolved into a multiplatform, multimedia brand adapt-
ing to an altered media landscape that demands a balance of timely news with in-
depth, high-quality coverage. For more than a decade, naysayers have claimed that action sports magazines are dying a slow death — on the brink of irrelevancy — as the
accessibility of information from multiple social channels negates the need for ink to
Tom McCarthy, Sean Stevens, Gary Kingston,
ever touch paper. No way! Action sports magazines continue to be a cultural neces-
Meredith Gardner, Brian Stemmle, Carl Petersen,
sity, but only if they maintain the highest standard of editorial efficiency using all medi-
Michael Mastarciyan, John Evely, Marina Ellis, Oliver Kraus, Michel Painchaud, Howard Cole. ADVERTISING Sales Manager
Mark Kristofic firstname.lastname@example.org
ums and stay in tune with subscribers. That is our mantra. The SRC family — SRC print, SRC digital, SRCmag.ca and the Weekly Wrap — serve separate yet integrated roles to inform and entertain our subscribers and reach out to new ones. SRCmag.ca, which now has more than 100,000 unique visitors per month, fulfills the instant news demand, while the Weekly Wrap recaps the top snowsports news stories in a convenient e-mail delivery format. And excuse me for sounding like a salesman here, but our Web site kicks ass. Not because of how it
WEB SITE Webmaster
Don Cameron email@example.com
looks, but what it delivers and how quickly. Whether an event’s at Wengen or Whistler, Trondheim or Tremblant, SRC provides comprehensive coverage, often before you’ve had your morning coffee. The bottom line is that SRC magazine is constantly seeking the magic balance be-
SRC is an independent publication of BK Media Inc. and is published eight times per year. Editorial Office: 5562 4th Ave. Delta, B.C., V4M 4H2.
tween instant news and in-depth coverage to serve our readers and digital subscribers more efficiently. The print magazine now has less news but more features, more prominent photos and unique behind-the-scenes profiles that you will not find anywhere else. With all the attention on Canadian snowsports athletes over the next month — and
Subscriptions: For circulation inquiries or address
hopefully beyond 2010 — SRC will continue its transition into a must-have magazine
updates, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit
for mainstream Canadians while keeping our die-hard subscribers in mind. As the athletes embark on a memorable Olympic journey, we at SRC are proud to
boast what we feel is an Olympic-ready product, ready to capture every story as it unPublication Mail Agreement: 41254013. Canada
folds, delivered to you quickly, efficiently and with an in-depth focus. I hope you enjoy.
Post number 7229094. ISSN: 1913-9861, SRC (Print), ISSN 1913-987x (SRCmag.ca). “We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Magazine Fund toward our editorial costs.”
Gordie Bowles Editor-in-Chief
SIGN UP FOR SRC DIGITAL OLYMPIC COVERAGE During the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, SRC will have reporters and photographers on site at the three snowsports venues (Whistler, Cypress and Whistler Olympic Park), and SRC will distribute two DIGITAL MAGAZINES during the Games. We encourage print subscribers to sign up, at no cost, to this digital service. Go to www.SRCmag.ca
and click through to “Digital Editions” to subscribe. Wondering if you’re already on the list? If you’re receiving the Weekly Wrap on Monday mornings, then you’re good to go.
PHOTO OF THE
MONTH By Paul Morrison, SRC Senior Photographer
SLOPE SURFER American downhiller Steven Nyman might have a laid-back surfer’s demeanour, but don’t let that fool you; the often-injured speedster from Utah – whose birthday is Feb. 12, 2010, the day of the Opening Ceremony — is a dark horse in the men’s Olympic downhill. See page 18 for all SRC predictions, analysis and venue information.
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PHOTO OF THE
Letter of the Month
WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND? SRC awards some very cool stuff each and every issue for the letter of the month. Send letters to: email@example.com or by fax to (604) 357-1434. This month’s winner is Pete Engstad, who just scored a toque from Silverfoot.
ú NOT QUITE A GOLD MEDAL, BUT ENGSTAD WAS A PIONEER Re: Vol. 5, No. 2, December 2009, “All in the Family” Dear Editor, The article on Pierre and Alex Harvey begins with: “A short history of Canadian cross-country skiing goes like this: Before this decade, there were very few Canadian skiers who made a blip on the international radar, and really only one worth mentioning — Pierre Harvey.” Without diminishing the Harveys’ accomplishments, past and present, there are other names worth mentioning. One of those is Kaare Engstad of the Omineca Ski Club in Burns Lake, B.C. He placed 16th in the 50 km at the 1932 Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. That result remains the best ever by a Canadian in the Olympic 50 km race. At the 50 km Olympic trials earlier in Lucerne, Quebec, he started first but was soon passed by the entire field when he pulled off the track to rewax his skis. He won the race by a margin of 16 minutes over the second-place finisher. We enjoy SRC and the broad coverage of snowsports it provides. Pete Engstad Mount Washington, B.C. ú READERS CHIME IN ON SAFETY OF SKI RACING Re: SRCmag.ca article, Dec. 13, 2009, “Fallen stars: Alpine racing’s critical issue” Dear Editor, Skis carve too powerfully, racecourses are prepared rock hard and sets on difficult terrain are too fast. Something has to give, and usually it is the knee. Watching J.P. lay down some of the best splits and to then end his season is just the worst thing. You can’t have a sport survive when the injury rate is so high. The risk/reward in skiing is out of line with what is sustainable for the racers. F1 cars could go faster, but the limit was reached once drivers were starting to pass out. Skis are now too fast for the human body and joints to withstand the forces when racers lose balance. Back to 210 GS with 50 m radius? Maybe the answer, but for sure a slower sport. Mark Stein Sent via e-mail Dear Editor, This was a letter sent to the president and secretary of FIS recently regarding safety: As a sport, we and FIS should be ashamed of ourselves with the devastating injuries that continue to ruin the careers and lives of our young athletes — severe ACL injuries on course and broken legs from fencing. The ACL injuries continue to increase in youngsters 12 years and up, for which there is only the reason of equipment parabolics, DIN settings and course sets that are too fast and too offset. In the 1970s and 1980s there were no numbers like this. The course sets can be fixed immediately, the others must be found an urgent solution. These injuries can be crippling for life and not necessary. Skiing is not a violent sport and it does not need to be dangerous beyond reason. I have grown up playing ice hockey, rugby and American football at very high levels and never are there injuries at this degree. [It is] very, very rare in any of these sports [to be] losing teammates such as [… in ski racing] since the equipment changes and course sets. As a parent with children in ski racing, I have never been so affected and heartbroken to watch my close friends’ children succumb to losing their hopes of enjoying the sport of ski racing. No other sport at the senior level loses athletes at these rates, and I can tell you we are losing participation from the youngsters whose parents have no interest in sitting in ambulances with their child to have their knees cut open on arrival at the hospital. Jeffrey S. Ryley Toronto, Ontario Dear Editor, How about cranking down the bindings so they can work like they’re supposed to do, that is release the torque forces from the ski to the knee. The last few injuries that I saw could possibly have been avoided if the (both) skis came off. Henry Haiduk Collingwood, Ontario
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Dear Editor, I absolutely agree with Max Gartner that the (speed event) courses need to have more turns (or wider turns) to slow the skiers down. I have never seen the wisdom in having skiers reach speeds up to 140 km/hr; the human body is just not made to handle the forces created by turns or falls at this speed. The consequences of making a mistake are just way too severe. I have no reason to believe there will be less interest in the sport if the courses are made slower. Downhill should just be taken out of the World Cup or at least the downhill format. Super-G is fast enough and equally as exciting, but much less fraught with danger for the athletes. We can still call it “downhill” but just make the gate configuration that of super-G. Dr. Phil Hamilton Gatineau, Quebec Dear Editor, I have watched a number of injury falls and it seems to me that knees, or legs, get wrecked partly due to skis not coming off when they should (Lanzinger’s terrible crash, Lanning of late, and others). I have seen juniors hurt this way too. Bode Miller seems to have the right idea. His skis seems to come off when they are supposed to, or even when they should not, but he can ski on one anyway. I wonder if he sets his DINs a bit lower. I have had a ski fall off at 75 mph and it was not fun, but I just scared myself. There might be less risk having a ski come off a bit prematurely than not come off at all in a bad fall, but it is about managing risk. Also, there seems to be a macho mentality around about how high one sets his or her DIN settings. This opinion might be simplistic, but might be part of the picture. Gordon Davidson Vernon, B.C. ú THE BEST-EVER SKI TEAM SONG Dear Editor, In the weeks prior to our annual trip to Beaver Creek, Colo., to ski and cheer for the Canadian men’s ski team at the World Cup Birds of Prey races, Payton, our 5-year-old daughter, decided she should write a song to inspire the team to do its best. Payton took her marker pens and favourite writing paper to her room and emerged a few short minutes later with original lyrics for “The Ski Team.” The lyrics seemed awkward at first read, but [then] Payton, inspired by Taylor Swift and Hannah Montana, sang the first bars at our annual “Canada House” Dinner in Beaver Creek, where the Canadian team athletes, coaches and support staff get to relax while on the road and enjoy some Canadian camaraderie. Here are the lyrics that Payton debuted to the Canadian Ski Team to a thunderous round of applause. THE SKI TEAM You are the best ski team ever, Go ski team Go You are the best Canadian team ever, Go Canada Go You go very fast, Go fast Go Go Erik, Go John, Go Manny, Go Franky, Go Jan, Go Robbie Go Mike, Go Pat, Go Julien, Go Steph, Go Trev, Go Louis Go JP, Go Ryan, Go Brad, Go Jeff, Go Dustin, Go Tyler I love the way you always go so fast I love the way you always stay in a tuck You will always win to me You can go so fast I can’t even catch up to you Even if you lose, I will be very proud of you and you should be proud of yourself — By Payton Brodeur (age 5) Sent via e-mail by Grant Brodeur
ÂŠ 2009 Columbia Sportswear Company. All rights reserved.
PARAZZI Gossip, news and entertainment from the snowsports world KOCHER AND CO. JAMMIN’, BIATHLON STYLE
SEPARATED AT BIRTH – SASQUATCH AND MANNY O.P.
We jammin’ ... I hope you like jammin’ too. – Bob Marley. Canadian Olympic biathlon medal hopeful Zina Kocher battled her bout with mono — which savaged her 2008 World Cup season — into a productive personal experience, learning hobbies like knitting and playing the flute in an effort to learn calming and “centering” skills. With teammates Megan Imrie an accomplished pianist and Jean-Phillippe Le Guellec an aspiring guitarist, Kocher and her teammates should be a solid act during the Games in the Athletes Village. Talk about turning a boring experience into something ... umm, productive.
Manny O.P. has become a bona-fide star on the World Cup circuit after winning his second World Cup title in Lake Louise in late November, and again in Val Gardena, Italy, in late December, but the Canadian Cowboy has nowhere near the global appeal of his grizzly brethren Sasquatch.
AERIALS MEN SHOW THEIR RISQUE SIDE
Photo: Paul Morrison
Good Luck Britt!
What does PI stand for? A ﬁnancial services ﬁrm at peak performance. PI Financial is the proud sponsor of Whistler’s Britt Janyk, one of Canada’s top downhill and Super G racers. In this, the most important season of her great career, she can count on the support of PI Financial and all of its employees in Vancouver, Victoria and Calgary!
www.pifinancialcorp.com 604.664.2900 Member – Canadian Investor Protection Fund
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Canadian magazine giant Chatelaine will feature aerialists Steve Omischl, Kyle Nissen and Ryan Blais in the buff in the February issue, which is due on newsstands Jan. 5. The guys on the Canadian men’s freestyle aerials team are a bold group with no fear of taking chances ... but a nude shoot? “I don’t know, I figured this is the best shape I’m ever going to be in … for the opportunity to do a nude photo shoot, I may as well go for it,” aerialist Ryan Blais of Grande Prairie, Alta., told the Vancouver Sun. Most of the time when there’s talk about athletes posing nude, it involves females. Added teammate Kyle Nissen: “I’ve had makeup put on my face before, but never all over my body.” “I’m going to get razzed by all my friends, guaranteed, but they did a good job. And truthfully, it was fun.” When asked about the magazine’s demographic, Blais laughed and told the Sun: “It’s women. I know that.”
READERS SPEAK ... RECENT SRCMAG.CA HOMEPAGE POLL RESULTS: Hermann Maier’s recent retirement begs the question: Who is the best ever? Hermann Maier 20.3%
Phil Mahre 1.3% Bode Miller 3.8% Franz Klammer 6.3% Marc Ghirardelli 13.9% With John Kucera’s injury, who will step up for the Canadian men’s speed team? Erik Guay 17.0% Robbie Dixon 19.1%
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RISE OF THE GOLDEN SKIERS Can they slay the Home-Field Goblin? BY MICHAEL MASTARCIYAN (AKA THE HULK) omething strange is going on in Whistler. Something almost superhuman. It started about 20 years ago when four mild-mannered kids took up the sport of ski racing. In the beginning they were like other small children taking up the sport — weebling and wobbling down the hill like little penguins on skis. But soon they started to exhibit skills that can only be described as super. They started to ski faster, stronger and better than their peers — and then even their elders. In time, they became so fantastic that the four were chosen to ski with the best in the world, given the honour of wearing the colours of their country — in the form of tights. Not much different than the tights worn by Batman, Superman and the Fantastic Four. Comic book legend Stan Lee’s ski racing version of the classic Marvel Comics Fantastic Four probably would feature Whistler as the setting and cast Britt Janyk as Invisible Woman (Susan Storm); brother Mike Janyk as the Human Torch (Johnny Storm); Manny Osborne-Paradis as Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards); and Robbie Dixon as the stony hulk known as the Thing (Ben Grimm). Britt would be perfect as Invisible Woman because she moves so fast on skis that she’s almost impossible to see in the flesh. Mike Janyk would be a great choice for Mr. Fantastic given his freakish ability to bend and stretch his body around slalom gates at lightning speed, but the fact that he’s Britt’s brother makes HUMAN TORCH Mike Janyk him a shoo-in for the Human Torch, who is Invisible Woman’s Photo: ACA/Pentaphoto brother in the comic. While Robbie doesn’t have orange rock-like skin and a grumpy, selfloathing disposition, he is solid as a rock and, to quote a Ukrainian friend of mine, “Strong like bull!” Perfect for the Thing. And just like in the Fantastic Four comic, Robbie is the roommate of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team’s own Mr. Fantastic — Osborne-Paradis. In his own mind, Manny is Mr. Fantastic, but if I skied as fast as he does, I’d think I was Mr. Fantastic too.
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The story needs a villain or villains. We could cast Bode Miller as Doctor Doom and maybe some of the Austrians as the Frightful Four (maybe not Benni Raich, because he is a pretty swell guy, and I say that sincerely). But if we were to make this truly a Canadian comic book tale, and since artistic license is limitless in the comic book world, let’s say the villain is a metaphysical nemesis, more a concept or thought than a being. One that is born out of stress, fear and performance anxiety — a villain we would call the dreaded Whistler 2010 Home-Field Advantage Goblin (the Home-Field Goblin, for short). In the comic book world, we know how the story would end. It might take a few issues, but in the end the Fantastic Four would vanquish the Home-Field Goblin and win gold and glory in the name of their country on Whistler’s slopes at the Olympic Winter Games after a gargantuan battle. But in the real world, superheroes, even if they are amazing ski racers, don’t always win. And sometimes what we think is an advantage might be a disadvantage. Canadian Alpine Ski Team women’s speed coach Rob Boyd is an expert on the advantages and disadvanMR. FANTASTIC tages of skiing at home. In 1989, Boyd became the first CanaManny Osborne-Paradis Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC dian male to win a World Cup downhill race on home soil — and he did it in Whistler. Boyd says skiing in front of a home crowd can definitely be a disadvantage — but only if you let it be one. “There’s extra pressure, extra expectations, from spon-
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sors, to local fans, to family,” Boyd says. “If you’re not proactive about that, and knowing what to expect and how to handle those things, it can be a distraction. But of course it can also be a very big advantage too — to have all that positive energy with all those people cheering you on.” Mike Janyk points to perception as the key to any success in front of a home crowd: “For sure there is more pressure skiing at home, but if you accept that and embrace it, you can use it to your advantage. It’s all how you perceive it.” Dixon acknowledges the performance pressure Canadian racers must deal with in Whistler and says it’ll be tough to block out. But like Boyd, he believes it can be turned into a positive if a racer handles it correctly and focuses on the extra training time on the Whistler tracks. “I think having everyone backing you at the hill is a pretty neat opportunity, because skiing is not like hockey in Canada, and having a home crowd cheering you on will be really cool and can get you really pumped,” Dixon says. Like her brother Mike, Britt Janyk believes the key to success in February will be to embrace the moment and the atmosphere that comes with it, and adds that the worst kind of presINVISIBLE WOMAN Britt Janyk sure is the kind that comes from within. “I think it defiPhoto: Paul Morrison/SRC nitely could be a disadvantage if you let the pressure get to you,” she says, “but it’s just the pressure that we put on ourselves. There’s a saying that I’ve kind of been repeating, that ‘Pressure is a privilege,’ that we’ve earned that THE THING Robbie Dixon position, that pressure, and that is what it’s about. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC Home-field advantage can be a disadvantage, but not for me.” For Osborne-Paradis, who is used to being a ski racing superhero on home soil, there is no such thing as “bad pressure.” With a second place in the 2006 Lake Louise World Cup downhill and most recently, a victory in the super-G at Lake Louise, he says any pressure he feels immediately dissipates when he hears the roar of home crowd. “I get an extra boost when I think of my friends and family being at the bottom of the run waiting to see how I’ve done, and it makes me focus better and I ski harder. Any pressure or prerace anxiety I may feel is gone because I want to rock out in front of everyone who is important to me, and that includes each and every Canadian that is cheering for us at the hill and at home across the country. To be honest, I’m more concerned about what I’ll sound like singing ‘O Canada’ if I get on the podium,” Osborne-Paradis says with a laugh. Boyd, who has known Whistler’s Fantastic Four in some way or another since they were young ski racers, sums it up best. “These guys have been in front of the limelight in a very positive way for some time now, and I think that has only helped them prepare for what’s gonna be coming in February. I think they are so well-adjusted to all the hoopla that they probably will thrive off that extra attention, and it could fuel them to do what they plan and hope they can do.” SRC
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2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW SRC BREAKS DOWN THE SNOWSPORTS FOR THE 2010 WINTER OLYMPICS
y now you’ve all seen your share of the CTV “Believe” commercials. Heck, why shouldn’t you believe? Canada enters the 2010 Winter Olympic Games as the decisive favorite, anchored by the Own the Podium program, a $110 million government initiative that’s designed to produce 35 medals, which could dethrone Germany, the overall winner in 2006 with 29 medals, including 11 golds. Vancouver-Whistler will be abuzz with 2,500 athletes from 80-plus countries, including an estimated 215 Canadians, vying for 258 medals in 10 sports. But counting on predictions at the Olympic Games is about as reliable as the sunshine in Vancouver. The talent pool is incredibly deep, the margins of separation are tiny and the array of variables associated with alpine racing — especially on Whistler Mountain – are immense. SRC has accounted for all these factors into our attempt at a “reliable forecast” of medal winners. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from the world’s best in Vancouver-Whistler in the snowsports events. — By Gordie Bowles
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE MEN
Didier Cuche, Switzerland. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
No Canadian has won an Olympic alpine skiing medal since Edi Podivinsky’s downhill bronze in 1994, but Alpine Canada has set its 2010 goal at four Olympic medals in the alpine skiing events. The men’s speed events are Alpine Canada’s best chance. The downhill team is led by B.C.’s Manny Osborne-Paradis, coming off a career-best World Cup season Osborne-Paradis won three World Cup medals in 2008-09 — including back-to-back podium finishes in March and started the 2010 World Cup season with a win in the opening super-G (his first ever top 10 in the discipline) – grew up skiing on the slopes of Whistler. He is intimately familiar with the Olympic downhill course, and could have an edge at the Games. The Canadian downhill team will also include Mont Tremblant’s Erik Guay, who became the first Canadian male in 13 years to win a World Cup downhill when he won the 2007 downhill in GarmischPartenkirchen, Germany, and Jan Hudec, who is returning from his sixth career knee injury. Hudec is the only other current Canadian male with a World Cup downhill win to his credit.
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Michael Walchhofer, Austria. Photo: Michel Painchaud
The Canadian team will sorely miss Calgary’s John Kucera, the reigning world champion in men’s downhill, after he suffered a broken leg at Lake Louise, Alberta in late November. Kucera, a team-leader and three-event threat will be on the sidelines during the Games. The best bet for downhill glory, however, is Aksel Lund Svindal. The 27-year-old Norwegian is clutch in action. After enduring a spectacular crash on the Golden Eagle jump at Beaver Creek in 2007 that left him bedridden at a Vail hospital for two weeks with facial fractures, an injured back and ribs and a deep gash in his backside, he returned to the site of that crash one year later to win both the downhill and super-G in 2008. He ended up winning his second overall World Cup title that season. The Swiss “rock” Didier Cuche is another medal favorite. Still going strong 12 years after making his Olympic debut, the certified butcher might be getting better with age, after winning a gold and silver medal at the 2009 World Championships. If he is on his game, he will contend in three events, the downhill likely his best opportunity.
Manny Osborne-Paradis started the season with a bang, winning the season-opening super-G in Lake Louise. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S DOWNHILL Gold: Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway Silver: Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Canada Bronze: Didier Cuche, Switzerland Don’t-be-surprised winner: Erik Guay, Canada; Didier Defago, Switzerland; Bode Miller, USA; Michael Walchhofer, Austria Dark horses: Klaus Kroell, Austria; Jan Hudec, Canada
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE MEN
SUPER-G Robbie Dixon has move from darkhorse to a legitimate medal-contender category with an explosive early World Cup season. Dixon has consistently finished amongst the leaders in downhill, super-G and giant slalom and may be Canada’s best hope for a super-G medal. With the absence of Kucera, who has three career super-G podium finishes, the next best Canadian hope is Manny Osborne-Paradis, who claimed victory in Lake Louise. But Austrian force Christoph Gruber or Aksel Lund Svindal will likely edge the two Canadian skiers, even though they will be racing on their home mountain in Whistler. Some pundits might have taken Erik Guay off their gold-potential list, but as his teammates stole headlines the last two seasons, Guay remained a steady force for the Canadian team. The 28-year old Guay finished fourth on this race track during the Olympic test event — within a stone’s throw of race winner Gruber, and Guay will likely have the maturity to compete for a career-pinnacle performance. Bode Miller created a stir with wild partying at the 2006 Olympics, but he has two Olympic silvers, an American-record 31 World Cup vic-
Erik Guay, Canada. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
Benjamin Raich, Austria. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
Manny Osborne-Paradis on the shoulders of his teammates in Lake Louise in late November 2009. Photo: Michel Painchaud.
tories and an awful lot of motivation. Swiss Daniel Albrecht could provide the feelgood story in Whistler if he earns a podium. As scary as Svindal’s crash at Beaver Creek was, Albrecht’s crash at Kitzbühel in January 2009 was even scarier. In an induced coma for three weeks, he still had no recollection of the incident three months later. Whether the 2007 super-combined champion can contend for a medal or not remains to be seen, but his participation at the Games would be nothing short of heroic.
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S SUPER-G Gold: Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway Silver: Christoph Gruber, Austria Bronze: Erik Guay, Canada Don’t-be-surprised winner: Christof Innerhofer, Italy; Manny Osborne-Paradis, Canada; Bode Miller, USA; Werner Heel, Italy Dark horse: Robbie Dixon, Canada
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE MEN
Robbie Dixon. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
Never count out American superstar Bode Miller. Photo: Michel Painchaud
Austrian Benjamin Raich should headline the men’s giant slalom. The “Blitz from Pitz” became the first male skier since Alberto Tomba (1988) to win the Olympic slalom and giant slalom double in 2006, and could do “La Bomba” one better by repeating that feat in 2010. The soft-spoken Austrian was the World Cup runnerup at the Whistler venue, thought to benefit technical skiers more than gliders, in 2008. American Ted Ligety has regained his form, finishing second in the World Cup opener in Sölden, Austria, after falling off the mark slightly in 2008-09. The 2008 giant slalom World Cup overall winner became the youngest U.S. male skier (21) to capture Olympic gold when he won the men’s combined in Torino in 2006. The affable skier known as “Shred” (also the name of his ski-product company) might have the gameday nerves to land on the podium. Again Kucera’s absence will be felt in this event, but with Jean-Philippe Roy, Francois Bourgue and Robbie Dixon, the men’s giant slalom team have an outside shot.
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S GIANT SLALOM Gold: Benjamin Raich, Austria Silver: Aksel Lund Svindal, Norway Bronze: Ted Ligety, USA Don’t-be-surprised winner: Didier Cuche, Switzerland; Carlo Janka, Switzerland; Veteran Didier Cuche may take a bite out of his younger competitors in the men's giant slalom. Photo credit: Michel Painchaud
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Massimiliano Blardone, Italy; Hannes Reichelt, Austria Dark horse: Robbie Dixon, Canada
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE MEN
Austrian Benni Raich is a safe bet for most disciplines but the workhorse will contend for both the slalom and super combined titles. The powerhouse Austrians have a knack of winning on the Olympic stage, having captured 101 skiing medals at the Olympic Games. Whistler’s Mike Janyk will lead the Canadian men’s team in the slalom, an event in which Canada had two top-five finishes in Torino in 2006 (François Bourque’s fourth place in giant slalom and Genevieve Simard’s fifth place in giant slalom). Janyk won a bronze medal in the men’s slalom at the 2009 World Championships in Val d’Isere, France, and is healthiest he’s been in years. Croatian Ivica Kostelic will be a threat in both events. With nine World Cup victories (seven in slalom) and a handful of Olympic starts, the 31year-old brother of Janica could emerge from his sister’s shadow to collect his own Olympic golden memories. The combined podium will be a mix of allrounders and slalom specialists. Swiss racer Carlo Janka could be a surprise story in Whistler and will likely be the one to beat in the men’s combined. With a giant slalom World Championships title (Val d’Isere 2009) and a bronze medal in the downhill at the same event, he has proven to be a game player.
Michael Janyk (right) worked his way onto the World Championships podium with a stellar second run in Val d’Isere, France, last winter. Photo: ACA/Pentaphoto
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S SLALOM
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S COMBINED
Gold: Ivica Kostelic, Croatia
Gold: Carlo Janka, Switzerland
Silver: Mario Matt, Austria
Silver: Benjamin Raich, Austria
Bronze: Manfred Pranger, Austria
Bronze: Silvan Zurbriggen, Switzerland
Julien Lizeroux, France;
Romed Baumann, Austria;
Reinfried Herbst, Austria
Julien Lizeroux, France
Dark horse: Mike Janyk, Canada
Dark horse: Mike Janyk, Canada
THE AUSTRIAN (AND AMERICAN) CHARGE Note to Olympic fantasy pool participants: Count out the Austrians and you will perish. Alpine skiing has always been dominated by the Austrians. The Österreich has won 101 alpine skiing medals — more than any country in any single sport during the history of the Olympic Winter Games. The Austrians have swept the podium at three alpine events since the start of the modern Olympic Games. Talents like Benjamin Raich and Kathrin Zettel are likely to be leading the Austrian team in 2010. But don’t forget about the red, white and blue. The American team is also very strong on the World Cup circuit. The notorious Bode Miller — mood dependent — and talented Lindsey Vonn are both serious contenders in multiple events, with a few youngsters backing them with a strong American contingent at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE WOMEN
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2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE WOMEN
VONNTOURAGE THE INVINCIBLE LINDSEY VONN IS READY TO TAKE VANCOUVER 2010 BY STORM
histler’s Britt Janyk became the first Canadian female to win a World Cup downhill in 14 years when she won the 2007 downhill in Aspen, Colorado. That’s the good news. The bad news is she has been somewhat invisible since finishing third in the overall World Cup standings that season. But Janyk is a self-proclaimed reborn Whistlerite, and racing on her home hill could provide a spark to help her win the women’s downhill a stone’s throw from her family’s house. But it will be two-time defending World Cup champion Lindsey Vonn who will steal the Whistler show. The American superstar – leader of Vonntourage – closed out last season with world golds in her marquee disciplines, the downhill and the super-G, and she is primed to be a threat in four disciplines, possibly five — if she avoids broken champagne bottles in the winner’s circle early in the week. Let’s just say the downhill is a done deal. She won back-toback downhills to start the 2009-10 World Cup season, with ease, and will be nearly impossible to beat in Whistler.
Lindsey Vonn. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
For the rest of the Canuck women, Fernie, B.C.’s Emily Brydon has the most versatility — seven career podium finishes in three different disciplines — but Whistler’s Britt Janyk (above photo) will likely outperform her long-time teammate Brydon in the speed events. Given that the Whistler course will be very technical, Swedish veteran Anja Paerson might steal the thunder in Whistler. The reigning Olympic slalom champion has captured medals in every one of the
Kelly VanderBeek finished fourth in the super-G at the Torino Games and would like nothing more than to erase the four years of what-ifs by standing on the podium in 2010. She has never won a World Cup race but has finished second twice to go along with a third place. Britt Janyk and Emily Brydon could be close behind, but don’t count on it.
five disciplines except super-G (one gold, one silver, three bronze) in two Olympic appearances. With more than 40 career World Cup victories, she remains a threat in every event, although she seems to be favoring speed events of late. Vancouver will likely be the last hurrah on the Olympic stage for the 28year-old Swede.
SRC PODIUM PIX • WOMEN’S DOWNHILL Gold: Lindsey Vonn, USA Silver: Maria Riesch, Germany Bronze: Tina Maze, Slovenia Don’t-be-surprised winner: Anja Paerson, Sweden; Andrea Fischbacher, Austria; Britt Janyk, Canada Dark horse: Emily Brydon, Canada
The teen with speed, Lara Gut of Switzerland, could capture the nation’s first alpine gold medal since Vreni Schneider won the slalom at the 1994 Lillehammer Games. The 18-year-old sparkplug made a splash when she earned her first World Cup podium (bronze) at the St. Moritz downhill even though she had crashed moments before the finish line. In December 2008, the Swiss charmer claimed her first vic-
tory on the tour by winning the super-G, also at St. Moritz. Two months later, she won two silver medals at the World Championships.
SRC PODIUM PIX WOMEN’S SUPER-G Gold: Lindsey Vonn, USA Silver: Anja Paerson, Sweden Bronze: Nadia Fanchini, Italy Don’t-be-surprised winner: Lara Gut, Switzerland; Andrea Dettling, Switzerland Dark horse: Tina Maze, Slovenia; Elisabeth Goergl, Austria. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
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Britt Janyk. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE WOMEN
Elisabeth Goergl, Austria
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: ALPINE WOMEN
GIANT SLALOM Slovenian Tina Maze has been grinding it out for years since her first World Cup start in Maribor in 1999, and the 26-year-old pride of southeastern Europe might have the blend of technique, experience and composure to take the women’s giant slalom in Whistler. The 2009 world silver medallist in giant slalom, Maze could challenge for medals in the giant slalom as well as both speed events. The Canadian women’s slim hopes of a podium in the women’s giant slalom rests on Genevieve Simard, but highly unlikely.
SRC PODIUM PIX • WOMEN’S GIANT SLALOM Gold: Tina Maze, Slovenia Silver: Elisabeth Goergl, Austria Bronze: Kathrin Zettel, Austria Don’t-be-surprised winner: Lindsey Vonn, USA; Lara Gut, Sweden Dark horse: Denise Karbon, Italy Emily Brydon, Canada. Photo: ACA/Pentaphoto.
podium in the speed events. Speaking of Vonn, the American should be on a roll in Whistler and will be tough to beat on this course, which features a few flat sections, where Vonn is sublime. Three young Canadian women — MarieMichele Gagnon, 20, Anna Goodman, 23, and Brigitte Acton, 23, all from Quebec — have turned heads with solid performances in slalom but won’t likely be in contention for hardware in Whistler. But women’s slalom in Canada has moved at a snail’s pace for well over a decade, and the home Olympics should give these athletes the experience to move to the next level.
BY THE NUMBERS Marie-Michele Gagnon, Canada. Photo: ACA/Pentaphoto
The return of 28-year-old Marlies Schild, after a broken leg sidelined the Austrian for the entire 2008-09 season, could be one of the feel-good stories in the women’s alpine events. Schild, the fiancée of Benjamin Raich, should be rounding into shape by the time the Olympics arrive, and if she regains the same mobility that helped her to five medals in World Championships and Olympic races, she’ll be a top threat. German slalom ace Maria Riesch has been
dominant on the World Cup circuit in slalom. With five consecutive slalom wins around the 2008-09 new year, the 24-year-old German became the first skier since Anja Paerson in 2004 to capture four or more straight World Cup wins in one discipline. Riesch already has tasted success on the Olympic course. She won the super-combined race — an Olympic test event — at Whistler in February 2008. The close friend of Lindsey Vonn is also capable of reaching the
SRC PODIUM PIX WOMEN’S SLALOM
SRC PODIUM PIX COMBINED
Gold: Lindsey Vonn, USA Silver: Maria Riesch, Germany Bronze: Marlies Schild, Austria Don’t-be-surprised winner: Dark horse: Marie-Michele Gagnon, Canada
Gold:Lindsey Vonn, USA Silver: Anja Paerson, Sweden Bronze: Elisabeth Goergl, Austria Don’t-be-surprised winner: Kathrin Zettel, Austria; Lara Gut, Switzerland Dark horse: Emily Brydon, Canada
ALL-TIME OLYMPIC MEDALS (ALL SPORTS) Nation Gold Silver Bronze Total Norway 84 98 98 280 Soviet Union 67 63 87 217 United States 59 80 78 217 Austria 70 64 51 185 Germany 46 65 68 179 Finland 52 57 42 151 Canada 43 38 38 119 Sweden 44 31 43 118 Switzerland 43 37 38 118 East Germany 35 36 39 110 OTHERS: Italy (101 total), France (83), Netherlands (78), Russia (76), China (33), Japan (32), South Korea (31), Czechoslovakia (25), Great Britain (21), Czech Republic (10), Liechtenstein (9), Poland (8), Croatia (7), Estonia (6), Australia (6), Bulgaria (6), Belarus (6), Hungary (6), Kazakhstan (5), Belgium (5), Ukraine (5), Slovenia (4), Spain (2), Luxembourg (2), North Korea (2), Uzbekistan, New Zealand, Slovakia, Denmark, Romania, Latvia (1).
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: FREESTYLE he maple leaf will be waiving often on the Olympic podiums at Cypress in February. After achieving full Olympic status when moguls was contested as a medal event in 1992 (aerials was added two years later in Lillehammer), freestyle has reached full maturity and will showcase to the world a polished operation and exciting action, especially with the addition of ski cross to the Olympic lineup.
Kristi Richards of Summerland, B.C., en route to a gold-medal run at a FIS freestyle moguls event in Suomu, Finland. Photo: Mike Ridewood/CFSA
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2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: FREESTYLE
Canada’s Steve Omischl won the 2008-09 World Cup title and will be the favourite for gold — a distinction that comes with a lot of pressure at a home Olympics. Americans Jeret Peterson and Ryan St. Onge will provide tough competition to the Canadian, as well as China’s Han Xiaopeng, the reigning Olympic champion and 2007 world champion. Omischl, widely considered the best aerialist in the world, won the title for a third consecutive year and is one of Canada’s strongest medal contenders for the Games. Other strong Canadian competitors include aerialists Ryan Blais, Kyle Nissen and Warren Shouldice as well as Veronika Bauer on the women’s side. China could sweep women’s aerials, and the Canadian women will likely not be in the hunt. The Chinese aerialists possess unmatched depth; five Chinese women placed in the top 10 of the 2008-09 World Cup standings. Nina Li, a silver medallist in Torino and three-time world champion — is so technically superior that her twoflip combinations many times surpasses the scores of her competitors’ triple jumps. The Chinese aerialists are coached by Dustin Wilson, a former World Cup competitor for Canada and former coach of the Australian national team. Australia’s Jacqui Cooper, one of the pioneers of women’s aerials, will be in the hunt at her fourth Olympics (1994, 1998, 2006) and could be a sentimental favorite.
Ryan St. Onge, USA. Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS Steve Omischl, Canada. Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
SRC PODIUM PIX WOMEN’S AERIALS Gold: Nina Li, China Silver: Shuang Cheng, China Bronze: Lydia Lassila, Australia Don’t-be-surprised winner: Jacqui Cooper, Australia; Xu Mengtao, China Dark horse: Evelyne Leu, Switzerland
Canadian Ryan Blais. Photo: Mike Ridewood/CFSA
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S AERIALS Gold: Steve Omischl, Canada Silver: Ryan St. Onge, USA Bronze: Kyle Nissen, Canada Don’t-be-surprised winner: Jeret Peterson, USA; Ryan Blais, Canada Dark horse: Dmitri Dashinski, Belarus
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: FREESTYLE
Jennifer Heil, the Canadian icon of the Torino Games, will staunchly defend her Olympic moguls title at Cypress. She has dominated the world since her golden moment in Torino. Over the past five seasons, Heil won four World Cup titles — she did not compete in the 2007-08 season while recovering from nagging injuries — and landed on the podium 37 times (20 gold, 15 silver, 2 bronze). Heil claimed World Championships gold in 2005 and 2007. Canadian Kristi Richards has reclaimed the form that earned her a World Championships title in 2007, winning gold and silver medals in the opening World Cup races in Finland in December. The Summerland, B.C., native has stepped up on the big stage and her rejuvenated spirit make her a legitimate contender. The strongest threat to dethrone Heil, however, will come from American Hannah Kearney, who catapulted to the top of the World Cup standings last season after recovering from a torn ACL and a lingering concussion. Alexandre Bilodeau will be the man to beat in Cypress after dominating the World Cup circuit in 2009. But the return of Australian Dale BeggSmith — the Torino men’s moguls gold medallist — should pose a serious threat to the young Canadian. Bilodeau was named the top moguls skier last season, a title he earned by February after winning four consecutive moguls events in a two-week span. Beyond Begg-Smith and Bilodeau, a pack of moguls specialists will compete for the bronze medal. On two occasions last season, Bilodeau was part of a podium sweep with Canadian teammates Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau and Vincent Marquis. Rousseau had a strong season with three podium finishes and a fourth-place finish overall, while Marquis finished third overall and won a bronze medal at the World Championships. If four male moguls skiers are chosen for the Olympic team, Maxime Gingras is one athlete to watch. The 24-year-old Quebec native made a strong comeback last season, placing third in one event and 10th at the World Championships. A year earlier he had been dropped from the World Cup team. Beyond Begg-Smith, other international contenders are Frenchman Guilbaut Colas, who finished second in the overall moguls standings last season, and Russian Alexandr Smyshlyev, who challenged the world’s best on most weekends.
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Canadians Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau (left), Alex Bilodeau and Vincent Marquis are all medal contenders for Olympic hardware. Photo: Mike Ridewood/CFSA
Jenn Heil, Canada. Photo: Mike Ridewood/CFSA
Vincent Marquis. Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
SRC PODIUM PIX WOMEN’S MOGULS
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S MOGULS
Gold: Jenn Heil, Canada
Gold: Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada
Silver: Hannah Kearney, USA
Silver: Dale Begg-Smith, Australia
Bronze: Shannon Bahrke, USA
Bronze: Vincent Marquis, Canada
Kristi Richards, Canada
Guilbaut Colas, France;
Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Canada
Margarita Marbler, Austria
Dark horse: Maxime Gingras, Canada
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: FREESTYLE Canadian Ashleigh McIvor charging from behind at the 2009 World Championships. Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS
Chris Del Bosco, Canada. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
SKI CROSS Even though the Canadian team claimed five of six medals at the World Cup event on the Olympic hill at Cypress in 2009, the competition will be fierce. The United States is likely to be very competitive in men’s ski cross, fueled by two former U.S. alpine ski racers — Daron Rahlves and Casey Puckett. Rahlves, the most successful speed event skier in U.S. history — he won 12 World Cup races and one World Championships title — emerged from retirement to compete in Vancouver in 2010. Puckett, 37, was a four-time Olympian in alpine skiing (1992, 1994, 1998, 2002) and believes he enters Vancouver with his best chance at an Olympic medal in his new sport. But the Canadians are the team to beat. Depending on what percentage of freestyle skiers are taken from each discipline, ski cross racers Chris Del Bosco, Davey Barr and Stanley Hayer are likely to compete for the Olympic title. Hayer, who finished first at the X Games in 2009 and captured the silver medal at the World Cup on the Cypress venue last year, is vying for an Olympic start bib. And Del Bosco, who won the World Cup event last season at Cypress en route to finishing second overall in the 2009 World Cup standings, will lead the Canucks in the sport’s inaugural Olympic Games.
SRC PODIUM PIX WOMEN’S SKI CROSS Gold: Kelsey Serwa, Canada Silver: Ophelie David, France Bronze: Aleisha Cline, Canada Don’t-be-surprised winner: Ashleigh McIvor, Canada; Karin Huttary, Austria Dark horse: Julia Murray, Canada Aleisha Cline, Canada. Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC
Ashleigh McIvor is the only ski cross athlete to have so far been named to Canada’s Olympic freestyle team. But Kelsey Serwa had a strong season, collecting more overall points than McIvor. Julia Murray and Aleisha Cline are also considered strong contenders for 2010 hardware. Ophelie David of France will be in the mix for top spot. The 34-year-old veteran was the overall World Cup winner in 2009, a distinction she has claimed three of the past five seasons.
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S SKI CROSS Gold: Chris Del Bosco, Canada Silver: Thomas Kraus, Czech Republic Bronze: Stanley Hayer, Canada Don’t-be-surprised winner: Davey Barr, Canada; Daron Rahlves, USA Dark horse: Casey Puckett, USA
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: NORDIC
CROSSCOUNTRY By Tom McCarthy ross-country skiing was contested at the inaugural Olympic Winter Games in 1924 and has been a part of every Winter Games since. But though it is one of six sports that have been contested at every Winter Games, it’s not your grandma’s sport anymore. It is powerful and exciting, with lots of sprint action, fast corners and aggressive tactics — definitely worth checking out. Cross-country events have been dominated by the Nordic countries and other European powers. While that is likely to continue in Whistler, there are reasons for optimism in North America. Every cycle of Olympic Games rotates the technique used for the various events, except the pursuit and relays. Half the events are classic and half are skating, and they switch back and forth every Olympics.
WOMEN A number of unlikely countries have produced at least one skier on the women’s circuit who can challenge on any given day. On the distance side, the resurgent Marit Bjoergen, a big star for the Norwegians, will be looking for some Olympic glory after flaming out in Torino. Charlotte Kalla, a young Swede, has earned her stripes in the last few years and will be hunting for a medal. Perhaps the strongest skier on the women’s side since the last Olympics has been Finland’s Virpi Kuitunen, a classic specialist. Look for her to dominate the 30-kilometer classic, the last race on the women’s schedule. Two all-rounders, Petra Majdic, who is a national hero in Slovenia, and Justyna Kowalczyk of Poland, last year’s overall World Cup and distance World Cup champion, will threaten in virtually any race. Majdic, in particular, is a dominant classic sprinter. The Russians and Italians will look to challenge in the sprint, a specialized event, with Alena Sidko for Russia and Marianna Longa on Italy’s side. The Swedish women, though, have a terrific sprint squad, led by Lina Andersson and Anna Haag. They captured two of the three medals at the last World Championships. The traditional four-person relay, with two classic legs and two skate legs, will pitch the Norwegians against the Finns and Russians, all of whom have consistent teams. The team sprint, in only its second year on the Olympic
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DYNAMIC DUO: Devon Kershaw (above) and Chandra Crawford (left) are both medal contenders in the team sprint free event. Photo: John Evely
SRC PODIUM PIX WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY 30 KM, MASS-START CLASSIC Gold: Virpi Kuitunen, Finland 15 KM PURSUIT (7.5 CLASSIC+7.5 FREE) Gold: Justyna Kowalczyk, Poland agenda, will feature the Italians, Swedes and Russians. Canada’s best medal chance is in the team sprint, which is skating technique this time around, and so will showcase Chandra Crawford’s strong technique along with team veteran Sara Renner, competing in her fourth Olympics after taking a break to become a mom. The Canadians have to be considered a longshot in this event and would have to be very lucky in any other event. But hey, Crawford was a longshot in the sprint in 2006 and ended up playing air guitar to “O Canada” on the podium. Don’t ever count her out.
WOMEN’S INDIVIDUAL SPRINT CLASSIC Gold: Petra Majdic, Slovenia TEAM SPRINT FREE Gold: Italy *Best Canadian chance: Chandra Crawford and Sara Renner 4X5 KM RELAY CLASSIC/FREE Gold: Norway 10 KM INDIVIDUAL FREE Gold: Charlotte Kalla *Best Canadian chance: Sara Renner
2010 OLYMPIC PREVIEW: NORDIC
The men’s picture for Vancouver looks a lot different than the women’s side. In every distance race, the overwhelming favourite has to be Petter Northug. He’s a young enigmatic Norwegian with the best finishing kick to come along in a generation. He has the staying power to hold on to any pace and then finds a gear that no one else has. He was kept out of the Torino Games by his coaches to allow for development and has carried a grudge ever since. Northug is a multiple gold-medal favourite. There are a stable of other high-quality skiers who deserve mention, including Alexey Petukhov, a Russian who has showed great sprint promise early this season, Dario Cologna, last year’s World Cup winner, Finland’s Sami Jauhojaervi and Lukas Bauer. Other skiers will be favourites in a particular race, including Italy’s Pietro Piller Cottrer in the pursuit. The sprint side of the sport has been dominated by Norway, with its tremendous depth. John Kristian Dahl, Anders Gloeersen, Ola Vigen Hattestad, Oys-
tein Pettersen and Northug are all legitimate challengers — all of them Norwegian. It is worth noting, though, that the Swedes have spent more time practicing this sprint course than anyone else. Emil Joenssen could steal it from the Norwegians. The men’s distance relay will be the race to watch in Vancouver. The Canadians have their strongest team ever and will challenge for a medal if they put it together. They’ll battle against Norway, Russia and Germany. Italy is always a wild card in the Olympic relay — the Norway vs. Italy relay battle is a legendary Olympic rivalry dating back to 1994. The Canadians have a number of very legitimate medal chances. They field an extremely strong team, consisting of Devon Kershaw, the team leader, Alex Harvey, the young star, Ivan Babikov, the toughman, and George Grey, the seasoned veteran. That team will be rounded out by several others, including Gordon Jewett. Though he’s not a favourite for a medal, Jewett’s Olympic journey is inspirational — he never gave up on his dream, though serious, debilitating back injuries erected huge barriers.
SRC PODIUM PIX MEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY V30 KM PURSUIT (15 CLASSIC+15 FREE) Gold: Pietro Piller Cottrer *Canada’s favourite: Ivan Babikov INDIVIDUAL SPRINT CLASSIC Gold: Ola Vigen Hattestad *Canada’s favourite: Devon Kershaw TEAM SPRINT FREE Gold: Norway Best Canadian chance: Devon Kershaw and Alex Harvey 4X10 KM RELAY CLASSIC/FREE Gold: Canada 15 KM INDIVIDUAL FREE Gold: *Canada’s favourite: Devon Kershaw 50 KM, MASS-START CLASSIC Gold: *Canada’s favourite: Alex Harvey
Whistler Olympic Park in majestic Callaghan Valley will be the busiest of the venues at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games as it hosts 28 different medal events, including the 10 in biathlon. Though Canada ranks well behind the dominant biathlon powers of Germany and Norway, there is significant hope for Canada’s young competitors in the sport that blends cross-country skiing and target shooting.
WOMEN Canadian women have not been able to match the success of Myriam Bedard – bronze medallist in Albertville in 1992 and double gold medallist in Lillehammer in 1994 – but have been mounting steady improvement. Zina Kocher, 26, the first Canadian in more than a decade to win a World Cup medal when she won bronze in Sweden nearly two years ago, will lead the team. Sandra Keith of Calgary, Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, Man., and Megan Tandy of Prince George, B.C. should round out the 2010 roster for the Canadian women. German powerhouse Kati Wilhelm, a sergeant in the German Armed Forces and a former Olympic cross-country skier, has been among the top three athletes in the IBU World Cup standings much of this season and could be a legitimate threat for gold at Whistler Olympic Park. Wilhelm’s teammate Magdalena Neuner is the new sensation for Germany and, at age 21, became the youngest triple world champion in biathlon ever. She is among the top performers in this season’s World Cup – hoping to defend her 2007-08 title – although she did have one total collapse in Antholz, where she lost a huge lead by missing every shot in her final
shooting exercise. She is known to get very nervous about her standing shooting and is focused on improving that mental hurdle before her first Olympics.
MEN The best prospect for a top finish at Whistler Olympic Park at the February 2010 Winter Olympics is Jean-Philippe Le Guellec, a 24-yearold based near Quebec City. Last winter was his most promising season yet, in a sport dominated by veterans such as 35-year-old biathlon legend Ole Bjorndalen. Le Guellec finished in the top 10 twice on the World Cup stage. Norwegian Bjorndalen is favoured in most races he enters as he is arguably the best biathlete of all time. With nine Olympic medals and 10 world championships, he’s renowned for fast ski times. A smaller skier, he excels on hills, often building up a huge lead. Austrian rising star Dominik Landertinger has stormed into the World Cup elite this season and will be a threat at Whistler Olympic Park. At just 20 years old, he’s an impeccable skier, besting experienced biathletes like Bjorndalen already and winning several World Cup gold medals. German Michael Greis, a three-time gold medallist at the 2006 Torino Games, was also the 2006-07 World Cup champion. Although the Germans have often underperformed recently, they have shown in the past they know how to win at the Olympics. This will be Greis’ third Olympics.
VENUE GUIDE: WHISTLER CREEKSIDE
BY THE NUMBERS Events: Alpine skiing events Venue Capacity: 7,700 Elevation: 810 metres Distance: 4.1 km from Whistler Athletes’ Village Investment: $27,635,000 – The governments of Canada and B.C. have jointly funded all new construction and upgrades.
THE PISTE The men’s downhill is located on the redesigned Dave Murray Downhill course on Whistler Mountain, named for the late Canadian alpine skier who competed as a member of the famed Crazy Canucks on the World Cup circuit in the late ’70s and ’80s. The women’s downhill course — located on Franz’s Run — was built from scratch for the Olympics. The course is parallel to the men’s course also on Whistler Mountain. It is named for Franz Wilhelmson, who was a driving force in getting the
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Status: Improvements include reshaping of the men’s and Whistler Resort to its current status as one of the premier ski resorts in North America. Whistler Creekside is one of two bases for Whistler Mountain; it is located a short drive between Whistler Village and the Whistler Athletes’ Village. The Whistler Blackcomb ski resort has up to 2 million visitors each year. It was opened for skiing in February 1966 with just three lifts. Whistler Mountain has hosted 11 FIS World Cup races, the most recent event in 2008. The region held its first FIS World Cup in 1975.
women’s downhill courses and additions to the existing snowmaking system. Following the Games, Whistler Creekside will continue to offer world-class ski conditions for tourists and all recreational skiers while also being used for future international competitions and national training.
VENUE GUIDE: WHISTLER CREEKSIDE
MEN - WHERE THE RACES WILL BE WON:
For the men’s event, the race will be won — and lost — on “Fallaway,” a technical and very steep section on the lower part of the course that turns the skiers left and drops into a compression. A mistake made here could be disastrous.
WOMEN WHERE THE RACES WILL BE WON:
On the women’s downhill, the steep and difficult top section – namely Deuce – with strong turns and steep sections will be the place where Olympic medals will earned and lost.
BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE:
A spectacular jump that sends racers soaring toward the finish line — called “Hot Air — or Boyd’s Bump” — will unlikely change the overall standings but is a great spectator thrill and the best seat in the 2010 house for the alpine events.
THE BRAINS AND BRAWN BEHIND THE SCENES Like many sports, ski racing is dependent on volunteers. Volunteerism provides the very lifeblood of ski racing at all levels from club races to the World Cup. In Whistler, a group of parents banded together in the late 1960s to form a Nancy Greene Ski League program for their sons and daughters. Fourty years later the Weasels are a driving force behind the scenes at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Bob Parsons, considered the founder of the Weasels, coined the phrase while watching a row of volunteers linked arm-in-arm and tramping down a steep slope, boot packing the soft snow. He said: “They’re Weasel Workers,” naming the group after the slope on which they were working. The volunteer race crew are rich in experience at all levels of ski racing and perform all the tasks necessary for a safe ski race: erecting safety nets, preparing the race track surface, building start and finish areas and maintaining the courses. Over the years, the Whistler Weasel Workers have assisted with many races, in many places. Weasels have participated in the Olympic Winter Games in Calgary and again at Salt Lake, as well as in the World Championships in Sierra Nevada, Spain, and in Bormio, Italy. Weasel Workers have also been involved with World Cup races at Lake Louise and at Beaver Creek in Colorado. In February 2008, The Whistler Weasel Workers were again hard at work in Whistler, building and maintaining the courses for the four Whistler World Cup races in their preparations for the 2010 Olympic Games. If either of the Janyk siblings — Britt or Mike — find themselves in the fortunate position of being on the podium, you just know that the Weasels will be grinning from ear to ear.
VENUE GUIDE: CYPRESS MOUNTAIN his could be the epicentre of Canadian gold medals during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Cypress Mountain will host all the freestyle (moguls, aerials, ski cross) and snowboard (halfpipe, alpine, snowboard cross) events. Located in the southern section of Cypress Provincial Park in West Vancouver – 30 km from the Vancouver Olympic Athletes’ Village – the ski area has 52 downhill ski runs split between two mountains, Mount Strachan and Black Mountain. After the Games, Cypress Mountain will continue to be one of the most popular areas in British Columbia for alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and snowshoeing.
MOGULS AND AERIALS
The moguls and aerials courses are side by side, literally overhanging the main Cypress Mountain parking lot. The spectator venue for those two events will be set up at the bottom of the courses in an extension of the parking lot, creating a convenient space to access. The freestyle venue was the first Games site to be completed (Nov. 2006)
BY THE NUMBERS EVENTS: Freestyle (moguls, aerials, ski cross) and snowboard (parallel giant slalom, halfpipe, snowboard cross) ELEVATION: 930 metres VENUE CAPACITY: 12,000 (freestyle skiing), 12,000 (snowboard), 8,000 (snowboard halfpipe). COST: $16.7 million for upgrades and improvements STATUS: The expansion of existing facilities, including modifications to existing runs, a new in-ground halfpipe, a snowmaking system and water reservoir, lighting, a new freestyle site for aerials and moguls as well as a regraded parallel giant slalom course. DISTANCE: 30 km to Vancouver Athletes’ Village
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VENUE GUIDE: CYPRESS MOUNTAIN
SKI CROSS AND SNOWBOARD CROSS
The ski cross and snowboard cross events will take place on the same course, but will happen a few days apart so the course can be lengthened for the ski cross event. The ski cross and snowboard cross course length is 1,135 metres with a vertical drop of 208 metres. The ski-cross course shares the same finish line as the snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom courses.
Aerial view of the ski cross track at Cypress. Photo: VANOC
THE GREAT WALL OF CYPRESS
Cypress Mountain had an in-ground halfpipe built in preparation for the Games. The halfpipe is set at an incline of 17.5 degrees and is 170 metres long with 22-foot-high walls. A halfpipe of this size is often referred to as a “superpipe.” The walls of halpipes have increased in height since the early 1990s. A standard halfpipe has walls that are 11 feet high, whereas a superpipe is any halfpipe with walls 16 feet high or greater.
DID YOU KNOW? Chama ... what? — Neither mountain’s official name is Cypress, but the ski region, which used to go by the name Cypress Bowl, named “the bowl” between the two mountains “Cypress” after the yellow cedar tree Chamaecyparis nootkatensis that grows in the area. The tree is also more commonly known as the yellow cypress. Course gurus — The snowboard, ski cross and parallel giant slalom courses are built by White Industries Ltd., led by professional course builder Jeff Ihaksi (builder of the Torino 2006 snowboarding courses). The halfpipe was built by Arena Snowparks and Steve Petrie. Volys to the rescue — A total 510 volunteers will maintain the six courses (aerials and moguls, ski cross, halfpipe, snowboard cross and parallel giant slalom).
SNOWBOARD PARALLEL GIANT SLALOM Located near the ski cross and snowboard cross venue, the snowboard parallel giant
A green thumb at Cypress — Members of the VANOC team and Cypress community partners joined in summer 2007 to salvage and relocate wetland plant species of local significance from the site of the new snowmaking reservoir to nearby wetlands (an area remaining unaffected by venue construction). Follow-up monitoring shows the plants are not only thriving, but they’re playing host to rare insects and other wildlife. Local yokels — Mostly local workers were hired during the venue construction phase at Cypress.
slalom will be run on Black Mountain with great vantage points in most locations.
VENUE GUIDE: WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK
ross-country skiers will compete at the Whistler Olympic Park, located in the Callaghan Valley about 18 kilometres south of Whistler. A temporary stadium holds 12,000 spectators at the $119-milllion venue, which will also host biathlon, ski jumping and nordic combined. The venue consists of 14 km of crosscountry skiing and biathlon trails as well as two ski jumps (90m and 120m) that will be immediately visible upon entering the venue. The two square-kilometre venue also includes three separate temporary stadiums (for cross-country, biathlon and ski jumping respectively) located about 500m apart. An additional 20 to 25 kilometres of recreational nordic trails will cover cross-country ski terrain next to the Olympic Games core area. A 10,500 square-foot day lodge will be part of the athletes’ compound. After the 2010 Games the Whistler Olympic Park will be owned and operated by the Whistler Legacies Society, which will also operate the Whistler Sliding Centre and part of the Whistler Athletes’ Village. VANOC has set aside $110 million for venue legacies as part of their venue budget.
50-kilometre race, the athletes will climb approximately 2,000 vertical metres (more than twice the vertical of the men’s downhill course at Whistler Creekside). The winning time for this race is expected to be around two hours. One of the five-kilometre loops is intended for the skating technique, and one is intended for the classic technique. It is not the hardest course on the World Cup circuit, though it flows extremely well and has a lot of fast downhill corners. The classic course has a long gradual uphill that could separate people and the skating course has a number of shorter, steeper climbs, which will be challenging. The sprint course loops above the stadium, and features two very sharp corners that will provide lots of racing excitement.
The cross-country venue includes a 6,000 squarefoot technical building, 10 kilometres of competition trails in two distinct five-kilometre loops and a 150-metre-long stadium area. Athletes will ski at an average speed of 25 kilometres per hour during cross-country ski races, reaching maximum speeds of nearly 60 kilometres per hour. Over the men’s
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WHERE THE RACES WILL BE WON:
The cross-country courses do not feature any long, steep hills where an athlete could break
away early. The long, gradual classic course on the uphill could separate the contenders from the pack, but is unlikely to determine a winner. Most of the races will likely be won on two short, steep uphills 500 metres from the finish, within full view of the crowd in the stands.
BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE:
The best place to be is in the standing-room area opposite the stadium seating. From there, you can grab an up-close look at the athletes as they climb the final hill, see them come directly at you as they whip around the first tight sprint corner, and then watch them come barrelling down the stadium straight-away. Plus, tickets are only a third the price as the stadium seating.
VENUE GUIDE: WHISTLER OLYMPIC PARK
The biathlon venue includes a 6,000 square-foot technical building, four kilometres of competition trails, a 150-metre-long stadium and state-of-theart shooting range. The shooting range has 30 shooting positions and lanes. For the Olympic Games, the targets are placed 50 metres from the edge of the firing line and shooting position and have a diameter of 45 millimetres (the size of a
loonie, the Canadian one dollar coin) for prone and 115 millimetres (the size of a grapefruit) for shots fired while standing. More on 2010 biathlon: A fully electronic target system will be able to detect and report
the precise time and location of each bullet fired. The automated and electronic target system will change the size of the targets automatically in between the prone and standing shooting rounds. The elevation at the Olympic biathlon stadium is 870 metres, the elevation at the lowest point on the four-kilometre course is 850 metres and the elevation at the highest point is 891 metres. The biathlon ski course for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games consists of a main four-kilometre loop that includes shortcuts for the other required competition distances A temporary, portable 10-metre air and laser rifle biathlon range will be set up in the cross-country stadium for the Paralympic biathlon events.
BY THE NUMBERS
The ski jumping venue in-
EVENTS: Cross-country, biathlon, ski jumping, nordic combined
cludes large hill and normal
VENUE CAPACITY: 12,000 in each of three temporary stadiums
hill ski jumps, coaching stands
COST: $119.7 million
and a state-of-the-art techni-
OPENED: November 30, 2007
cal building known as the
ELEVATION: 850 metres - 910 metres
judges’ tower. Jumping hills
DISTANCE: 15km from Whistler Athletes’ Village.
have three distinct parts: the in-run where the jumpers gain speed and take off into flight; the landing hill which the jumpers fly over and then land on; and the outrun area at the bottom used to stop. The inruns include one of the world’s most sophisticated ski jump snow refrigeration and track setting systems.
INTERESTING TIDBITS: • The venue has approximately five kilometres of roller ski trails and six kilometres of lit trails to enhance athlete-training opportunities. • The only snowmaking system at the venue is for the ski jump landing hill. • The average amount of snow on the ground during the time of the Olympic Winter Games in February is 191 centimetres. • The average daily high temperature during the time of the Olympic Winter Games in February is +3.3°C and the average daily low is -4.0°C.
More on judging:
• The elevation range of the venue is between 840 and 930 metres.
• The angle of takeoff is 11 degrees below the horizontal plane and
• There will be warm-up trails and several cutover trails for the shorter
the maximum in-run and landing hill slope angle is 35 degrees. • On the normal hill, the maximum flight distance down the landing hill is 106 metres. On the large hill, the maximum flight distance is 140 metres. This distance is known as the hill size and is often used to identify the jump hills. • The elevation difference from the top of the in-run to the bottom of landing hill is 100 metres.
competition distances (two, 2.5, three, 3.3 and 3.75 kilometre). • In addition to competition trails, Whistler Olympic Park has 40 to 45 kilometres of training trails and easier recreational trails, including flat parts that will be used for the Paralympic sit-ski competitions. Competition courses include a five-kilometre course for the standing classes and a specially designed 3.75-kilometre course for the sit-ski classes.
2010 OLYMPIC WINTER GAMES: SNOWSPORTS â€“ SCHEDULES 12-Feb-10 9:00 Ski Jumping - NH Individual Trial Qualification 10:00 Ski Jumping - NH Individual Qualification Round 18:00 General - Opening Ceremony 13-Feb-10 8:30 Ski Jumping - NH Individual Trial for Competition 9:45 Ski Jumping - NH Individual 1st Round 10:45 Ski Jumping - NH Individual Final Round 11:45 Alpine Skiing - Men's Downhill 13:00 Biathlon - Women's 7.5 km Sprint 16:30 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Moguls Qualification 19:30 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Moguls Final 14-Feb-10 9:00 Nordic Combined - Individual NH/10 km CC - Trial Round 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Super Combined Downhill 10:00 Nordic Combined - Individual NH/10 km CC - Competition Round 11:15 Biathlon - Men's 10 km Sprint 13:00 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Super Combined Slalom 14:30 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Moguls Qualification 17:30 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Moguls Final 15-Feb-10 10:00 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' 10 km Free 10:30 Snowboard - Men's Snowboard Cross Qualification 12:30 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's 15 km Free 14:00 Snowboard - Men's Snowboard Cross 1/8 Finals 14:26 Snowboard - Men's Snowboard Cross Quarterfinals 14:42 Snowboard - Men's Snowboard Cross Semifinals 14:53 Snowboard - Men's Snowboard Cross Finals 16-Feb-10 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Men's Super Combined Downhill 10:00 Snowboard - Ladies' Snowboard Cross Qualification 10:30 Biathlon - Women's 10 km Pursuit 12:15 Snowboard - Ladies' Snowboard Cross Quarterfinals 12:29 Snowboard - Ladies' Snowboard Cross Semifinals 12:40 Snowboard - Ladies' Snowboard Cross Finals 12:45 Biathlon - Men's 12.5 km Pursuit 13:30 Alpine Skiing - Men's Super Combined Slalom 17-Feb-10 10:15 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Individual Sprint Classic Qualification 10:45 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Individual Sprint Classic Qualification 11:00 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Downhill 12:30 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Individual Sprint Classic Quarterfinals 12:55 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Individual Sprint Classic Quarterfinals 13:05 Snowboard - Men's Halfpipe Qualification 13:20 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Individual Sprint Classic Semifinals 13:30 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Individual Sprint Classic Semifinals 13:45 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Individual Sprint Classic Finals 13:55 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Individual Sprint Classic Finals 17:15 Snowboard - Men's Halfpipe Semifinals 19:15 Snowboard - Men's Halfpipe Finals 18-Feb-10 10:00 Biathlon - Women's 15 km Individual 12:30 Snowboard - Ladies' Halfpipe Qualification 13:00 Biathlon - Men's 20 km Individual 16:00 Snowboard - Ladies' Halfpipe Semifinals 18:00 Snowboard - Ladies' Halfpipe Finals 19-Feb-10 8:30 Ski Jumping - LH Individual Trial Qualification 10:00 Ski Jumping - LH Individual Qualification Round 11:30 Alpine Skiing - Men's Super-G 13:00 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' 15 km Pursuit (7.5Classic+7.5Free) 20-Feb-10 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Super-G 10:00 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Aerials Qualification Jump 1 10:00 Ski Jumping - LH Individual Trial for Competition 10:50 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Aerials Qualification Jump 2 11:30 Ski Jumping - LH Individual 1st Round 12:30 Ski Jumping - LH Individual Final Round 13:30 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's 30 km Pursuit (15Classic+15Free)
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Medal Event Medal Event
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21-Feb-10 9:15 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Cross Qualification 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Men's Giant Slalom 1st Run 10:45 Biathlon - Men's 15 km Mass Start 12:15 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Cross 1/8 Finals 12:44 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Cross Quarterfinals 13:00 Biathlon - Women's 12.5 km Mass Start 13:05 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Cross Semifinals 13:20 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Ski Cross Finals 13:45 Alpine Skiing - Men's Giant Slalom 2nd Run 22-Feb-10 8:30 Ski Jumping - Team Trial Round 10:00 Ski Jumping - Team 1st Round 10:45 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Team Sprint Free Semifinal 1 10:45 Ski Jumping - Team Final Round 11:10 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Team Sprint Free Semifinal 2 11:35 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Team Sprint Free Semifinal 1 12:00 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Team Sprint Free Semifinal 2 13:00 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' Team Sprint Free Final 13:25 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's Team Sprint Free Final 18:00 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Aerials Qualification Jump 1 18:50 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Aerials Qualification Jump 2 23-Feb-10 9:00 Nordic Combined - Team/4x5 km CC - Trial Round 10:00 Nordic Combined - Team/4x5 km CC - Competition Round 10:30 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Ski Cross Qualification 11:30 Biathlon - Women's 4x6 km Relay 13:00 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Ski Cross 1/8 Finals 13:00 Nordic Combined - Team/4x5 km CC - 4x5 km Relay 13:29 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Ski Cross Quarterfinals 13:50 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Ski Cross Semifinals 14:05 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Ski Cross Finals 24-Feb-10 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Giant Slalom 1st Run 11:15 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's 4x10 km Relay Classic/Free 13:15 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Giant Slalom 2nd Run 19:30 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Aerials Final - Jump 1 20:05 Freestyle Skiing - Ladies' Aerials Final - Jump 2 25-Feb-10 9:00 Nordic Combined - Individual LH/10 km CC - Trial Round 10:00 Nordic Combined - Individual LH/10 km CC - Competition Round 11:00 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' 4x5 km Relay Classic/Free 18:00 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Aerials Final - Jump 1 18:35 Freestyle Skiing - Men's Aerials Final - Jump 2 26-Feb-10 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Slalom 1st Run 10:00 Snowboard - Ladies' PGS Qualification Run 10:34 Snowboard - Ladies' PGS Elimination Run 11:30 Biathlon - Men's 4x7.5 km Relay 12:15 Snowboard - Ladies' PGS 1/8 Finals 12:51 Snowboard - Ladies' PGS Quarterfinals 13:13 Snowboard - Ladies' PGS Semifinals 13:27 Snowboard - Ladies' PGS Finals 13:30 Alpine Skiing - Ladies' Slalom 2nd Run
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27-Feb-10 10:00 Alpine Skiing - Men's Slalom 1st Run 10:00 Snowboard - Men's PGS Qualification Run 10:34 Snowboard - Men's PGS Elimination Run 11:45 Cross-Country Skiing - Ladies' 30 km, Mass Start Classic 12:15 Snowboard - Men's PGS 1/8 Finals 13:13 Snowboard - Men's PGS Semifinals 13:27 Snowboard - Men's Parallel Giant Slalom Finals 13:45 Alpine Skiing - Men's Slalom 2nd Run 9:30 Cross-Country Skiing - Men's 50 km, Mass Start Classic 18:00 General - Closing Ceremony
Medal Event Medal Event Medal Event
BACK ON TOP – KRISTI RICHARDS BOUNCES BACK WITH WORLD CUP WIN Kristi Richards is off to the best start of her freestyle ski World Cup career after winning silver in women’s moguls in December.
CALIFORNIAN SKIER PUTTING JAMAICA ON THE SKI MAP ... SERIOUSLY!
Kristi Richards of Summerland, B.C., en route to a gold-medal performance at the opening FIS freestyle moguls event in Suomu, Finland, Dec. 12, 2009. Photo: Mike Ridewood/CFSA
Richards, the 2007 world champion moguls champion, claimed the the season-opening event in Suomo, Finland, putting a exclamation point on her return to form following a disappointing 2009 World Cup campaign. “I feel everything is just coming together,” said Richards, who finished second the next day just behind American Hannah Kearney. “I’ve been working on the same technique for four years, and it’s time (to perform).” Richards was actually in jeopardy of missing the final after almost failing to land her opening jump, but she picked up the pace to qualify. After that, it was more uptempo skiing and cleaner jumps in the final. “There was nothing to lose, so I was one of the fastest again and I skied like I know how to ski.” With podium appearances in two Europa Cups and two World Cups this season, Richards says she has the feeling her lack of consistency last season is a thing of the past. SRC
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Some might say he’s Usain Bolt on skis. Not surprisingly, though, when Errol Kerr tells people he’s a member of the Jamaican Winter Olympic team, most pull out the bobsleigh one-liners. “When people hear of a Jamaican skier, they expect dreads hanging out the back of my helmet and a smoke stream following me down the mountain,” Kerr said. This is no joke, though. Less than two years since Bolt brought world records and world renown to the island nation with his sprinting, Jamaica’s latest winter star is hoping to put his country on the map in the new Olympic sport of ski cross. Born to an American mother and Jamaican father, Kerr grew up a dual citizen between Lake Tahoe in California, where he moved with his mother as a child, and Westmoreland, Jamaica’s westernmost parish. He has felt most at home on the slopes since he was a kid watching a ski race on TV. He rolls with the jokes, most of which inevitably draw comparisons to the Jamaica bobsleigh team, a fan favourite in the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary that inspired the comedy movie “Cool Runnings.” But while the bobsleigh team was initially a novelty, Kerr enters the Vancouver Olympics — his first — as a talented longshot. The hybrid style of ski cross draws on Kerr’s extensive background in alpine skiing. It also makes good use of the rougher edge he picked up in motocross and BMX, and the 200-plus pounds he has to throw around, said American Jonny Moseley, an Olympic gold medallist who will be a TV commentator for the freestyle events in Vancouver. “Errol’s got a good shot at the Olympics,” Moseley said. “He’s cut out for the sport.”
Errol Kerr’s late father never strapped on a pair of skis, Errol’s mother, Catherine Kerr — once a ski racer herself — said. It would have moved him to see how far his son has come, and to know that he is competing for the island, she said. Kerr said part of his dream was always to race for his father’s country – under the black, green and yellow flag of Jamaica. “To be able to see Errol grab a hold of that and say let’s take it a step further, put Jamaica on the map of skiing, it’s beautiful,” she said. “He would just be so proud.” SRC — Canadian Press
THE FRENZY POLL JANUARY 2010 Who will win gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in women’s ski cross? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
Ophelie David, France Kelsey Serwa, Canada Ashleigh McIvor, Canada Aleisha Cline, Canada None of the above
Go to www.SRCmag.ca to enter the poll and see what our panel of experts have to say. You also have the opportunity to enter to win prizes from SRC Magazine and GMC World of Skiing.
RESULTS FROM THE DECEMBER 2009 FRENZY POLL Who will win gold at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in men’s moguls?
Alexandre Bilodeau, Canada
Guilbault Colas, France
Vincent Marquis, Canada
Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Canada 14.3% None of the above
All photos credit of Mike Ridewood.
RACE REPORT Paralympian Brian McKeever is making a run at qualifying for the Olympic Games with a recent Nor-Am win.
THE WAITING GAME – MCKEEVER’S MEDAL PROVES PARALYMPIC METTLE, NOW AWAITS DECISION FOR OLYMPIC INCLUSION Brian McKeever has done what he needed to do to make history. Now, it’s up to the bureaucrats. When the visually-impaired cross-country skier from Canmore won a 50-km Nor-Am race on his home course at the Canmore Nordic Centre in mid-December, he inched closer to qualifying for the Olympic team. If he makes the Canadian roster, the 30-year-old would become the first winter athlete to compete in both the Olympics and Paralympics, as well as the first Canadian to accomplish the double.
Cross Country Canada now considers McKeever a candidate to race that distance at the 2010 Winter Olympics at the Whistler Olympic Park in Callaghan Valley. “It’s out of my hands now,” McKeever said after his win in Canmore. “The goal was to try and win this particular race. I’ve prepared all year for it, even four years for it. I figured this was my shot, the 50-km race.” Five athletes have competed in both Paralympics and Olympics, and all of them have been summer-sport athletes: South African swimmer Natalie du Toit (amputee); American runner Marla Runyan (visually impaired); Polish table tennis player Natalia Partyka (born without right
hand and forearm); Italian archer Paola Fantato (polio); and New Zealand’s Neroli Susan Fairhall (paraplegic), who was also an archer. The Olympic cross-country team will be officially named in mid-January. The Canadians will field a minimum team of 12 athletes on the 2010 Olympic team. World Cup team regulars Alex Harvey, Devon Kershaw, George Grey, Ivan Babikov, Chandra Crawford, Perianne Jones and Sara Renner have all pre-qualified to be named to the team. Canada can enter a maximum four men in the 50-km race, but it’s unlikely Harvey, Kershaw, Grey and Babikov will all want to race that event, according to high-performance director Thomas Holland. “You have a minimum and maximum team size, and you have to look at your priorities and fill everything,” Holland said. “You take the best out of each event, and, after you’ve done that, you can look and see what your team looks like and are there holes to fill.” McKeever, who has Stargardt’s disease, an inherited condition of macular degeneration that also claimed his father’s eyesight and limits him to less than 10 percent vision, has won seven Paralympic medals, including four gold, with his older brother Robin as his guide. He also competed at the 2007 World Championships with able-bodied athletes and finished 24th in the 15-km event. Robin, 36, raced in the 1998 Olympics and finished eighth in the Canmore race, just over six minutes behind Brian. SRC — Canadian Press
INJURY BUG HITS SNOWBOARD TEAM: MORISON OUT WITH BROKEN ELBOW A broken elbow will sideline snowboarder Matthew Morison during three competitions leading up to the Vancouver 2010 Games, robbing him of valuable training opportunities. Morison, who won gold in the parallel giant slalom event in Telluride, Colo, in December, will still be able to compete at the Games following four to six weeks of rest, doctors said. The 22-year-old Burketon, Ont., native fractured the radial head of his left arm during qualifying runs Thursday after he crashed into a net. Coaches have adjusted his training regimen so that he will maintain his fitness through February. Morison will not be able to compete at races in Kreischberg, Austria; Nendaze, Switzerland; and Stoneham, Que., in January. SRC Matt Morison. Photo: Oliver Kraus/FIS.
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RACE REPORT Manny Osborne-Paradis charging the Saslong course at Val Gardena, Italy, claiming his second World Cup gold medal of the season. Photo: ACA/Pentaphoto
DECIMATED ALPINE TEAM NOT LOWERING OLYMPIC GOAL The Canadian ski team may be hurting but the determination to win at least three medals at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games remains strong and healthy, according to Gary Allan, president of Alpine Canada. “We’re not striving for mediocrity,” Allan said after the team suffered five knee injuries in the month of December. “We’ve been able to build a very deep roster of athletes. We’re still striving for those three medals.” When Francois Bourque became the fifth Canadian skier in less than a month to be knocked out of the Games when he ripped up his knee in a super-G race in Val Gardena, Italy, he joined injured potential medallists John Kucera and Kelly VanderBeek, who also will miss the Olympics. Paul Kristofic, head coach of Canada’s men’s team, said having fewer athletes increases the challenge of reaching the medal count. “You lose key contenders in different events and you start to limit your possibilities,” Kristofic said following the Val Gardena races. “You have to know we have guys and girls that are quite strong and quite capable to achieve those results.” Own the Podium, the $117-million program aimed at helping Canada win more medals than
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any other country at the 2010 Games, has set a goal of winning two skiing medals at the Olympics. Alpine Canada, which has received more than $10 million in funding from the program — more than any other sport — has raised that to three medals, including one gold. Allan still considers that achievable. “You look at the odds and how things have changed,” he said. “You want to have obtainable goals. At this point there is no need to amend anything.” Canadian skiers claimed four podium finishes in November and December World Cup races. Manuel Osborne-Paradis won the opening super-G race of the season at Lake Louise, Alta., and followed that up with a win in the legendary Val Gardena, Italy, downhill in late December. Emily Brydon had a second and third in the first women’s downhill races of the year. Other Canadians with medal chances at the Games include Erik Guay, who has 10 World Cup podium finishes and was fourth in super-G at the 2006 Olympics; Michael Janyk, a bronze medallist in slalom at last winter’s World Championships; and Britt Janyk, who has two downhill podium results, including a win. Losing Kucera to a broken leg in the first super-G of the season was a huge blow to Canada’s medal hopes. The Calgary resident won the downhill at the World Championships. He also has three career World Cup podium fin-
ishes in super-G, including a win. VanderBeek, who finished a fraction of a second off the podium in the super-G at the 2006 Torino Games – and has three World Cup podiums in downhill and super-G – suffered a knee injury in downhill training at Val d’Isère, France, in December. The last time Canada earned more than one skiing medal at a Games was in 1988 at the Calgary Olympics, when Karen Percy won two bronze medals. SRC — The Canadian Press contributed to this report.
WHAT YOU’RE SAYING SRCMAG.CA POLL
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST REASON FOR ALL THE ALPINE INJURIES? Course setting 31.9% Modern race ski technology 55.3% Mother Nature 2.1% Skill and fitness level of racers 4.3% Racing strategy 6.4%
SRC_Jan2010_Layout 1 10-01-04 11:17 AM Page 45
OFFICIAL SPONSOR OF CROSS COUNTRY CANADA At AltaGas we understand that success doesn’t come easily m it takes hard work, dedication, and a commitment to excellence. That’s why we’re one of Canada’s largest and fastest growing energy infrastructure organizations. And that’s why we proudly sponsor Cross Country Canada.
MASTERS By Howard Cole
G N I I K S THE WALKING WOUNDED A psychological approach to rebounding from injury
his is unfortunately the hottest topic in ski racing. Most of us have, at some time, injured ourselves skiing; sometimes minor and sometimes major. A stretched medial collateral ligament, a torn meniscus, a torn ACL, a fractured arm, a separated shoulder, a fractured collarbone or a torn Achilles tendon all top the list of common ski injuries. Whatever the injury, we have a psychological reaction to it and that reaction can dramatically influence how we ski when we return to the hill. How we react and formulate that return to snow will impact the rest of your skiing days. Doctors and physiotherapists help us with the physical recovery. By and large, we are left to our own devices to deal with the psychological part. I hope to shed some light on this aspect of recovery and to make some suggestions. I have recovered from several injuries and have spent a lot of time quietly listening to others’ accounts of coming back. First, I find it useful to appreciate how our brain and minds are set up. At the deepest instinctual level, we are designed to survive. Anything that interferes with or threatens that instinct is fiercely defended. This is a central part of our wiring. Some of us, when we are young, are attracted to danger and risk taking. We love the adrenaline rush. Also, when we are young, we believe we are immortal. Ski racing involves putting on a boot that limits the range of motion of our ankles and consequently puts our knees at risk for injury. We then attach long boards to our boots and hurl ourselves down hill at high speeds. Instinctively, fear sets in, but our minds are powerful and can learn to override this fear. As we become older and more aware of the dangers involved, we do a risk/benefit calculation. We love the benefits of racing to our physical, emotion and mental health, and we balance it against the dangers. When we injure ourselves, we are reminded that our brain was right, and our carefully constructed illusion is shattered for a time. We are forced to recalibrate our risk/benefit calculation. We return to the hill and are appropriately fright-
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BUZZ KILL – Canadian world champion John Kucera was airlifted to patrol (below and next page) after suffering a season-ending injury in the men’s Lake Louse World Cup super-G, with teammate Manny Osborne-Paradis leading in the race. Kucera suffered a broken leg in the crash. Photo: Michel Painchaud.
STEP 1: Try to construct as accurate a picture as to how you were injured and deliberately set about never letting yourself be in that situation again. For example, if you hooked a GS gate going fast and tore your medial meniscus, deliberately practice keeping your boots a meter off the gate. Your mind will then have a chance to persuade your brain that this is safer and you can go for it. STEP 2: Assess whether you have any habits that are particularly stressful on your joints and that played a part in your injury. For example, skiing on the tails of your skis is particularly stressful on your ACL. The tail of the ski thrusts the boot forward, and the structures preventing the tibia from pulling away from the femur are the ACL and the hamstrings.
ened. Consciously, we can fool ourselves and override that fear. However, the instinctual part of us is very powerful and influences us, whether we like it or not, and whether we know it or not. We favour our injured limb, demand less of it, hold back on the dangerous sections of the course, and generally ski more cautiously. Recently I was watching some video footage of an athlete training 18 months after an ACL repair. When turning on his “healed” knee, he was pushing his inside ski forward and his skis were in an open A position (a way of controlling speed). He wasn’t aware of it and it accounted for his slower times. I believe some of us have the ability to brush the impact of an injury off and motor on, but the majority of us are unable to do this with the same level of ease. The beginning of dealing with our fear is to recognize it, acknowledge it, and only then manage it. Pretending it is minor or unimportant doesn’t work. What follows is a series of steps I have found helpful.
STEP 3: Be as healthy and strong as you can before you start skiing. Strength supports confidence, and post-injury is a crucial time to have it. Really emphasize dryland training before you hit the slopes. A weakened limb from an injury will alter your skiing dynamics, and if you practice those dynamics enough, they will become bad habits. STEP 4: Start off slowly. Ski on easy hills and be acutely aware of good skiing dynamics. Remember, your brain will try to protect the injured part of you at all costs. You are deliberately trying to prevent the development of bad habits. Video and good coaching can be very helpful at this point. STEP 5: Be aware that your brain is constantly pushing for caution. In the early stages, it is far from convinced that turning on the gas is a good thing. If you push yourself too hard, you might be harsh and negative with yourself, which will set up negative neuron networks in your brain that will inhibit your skiing. This is big trouble. I have talked with athletes who pushed themselves so hard to get back to where they were pre-injury that it has resulted in their results progressively deteriorating as the season went on. They became frustrated and self-critical and lost confidence.
MASTERS there is a part of us that is very interested in self-preservation. Choose a training venue that you know is relatively safe. Coach yourself and say: “It is now the time for mind over matter.” You have to push the power of your illusion that racing is OK and can be done relatively safely. It’s time to push the boundaries of your risk/benefit recalibration. The principles of managing your fears are in my article “Taming the Beast, Conquering Fear” (SRC February 2009). Use them. Establish your confidence in training and then take it to the racecourse. Again, choose a venue that is relatively safe and go for it.
STEP 6: Some of us stall in our progress. We have a clear picture of how we injured ourselves and plan never to go there again. We have figured out how to compensate for our weaknesses. We have worked hard and are strong. We have been patient and been aware
of how our injury has affected our skiing and we have worked to counter that. We have reestablished good skiing dynamics. We have resisted being negative with ourselves. Our doctors have said we are now fully healed and we can go for it. We are acutely aware that
In short, you must create the illusion that it is relatively safe to go for it again. I believe some of us who are injured have such a strong instinctual response to survive that it becomes problematic to go back on the racecourse. We might push ourselves to do so, but it sets up such conflicts within us that we inhibit ourselves when racing. On a racecourse you have to give it everything you’ve got. If you hold back, you are setting yourself up for further injury. SRC
FUEL By Bob Seebohar
ATHLETES: EAT RIGHT ... AND SAVE MONEY
TIME-SAVING COOKING TIPS
thletes living on their own while in school or training away from home might find themselves faced with the challenge of eating for high performance while on a limited budget. You likely are challenged with time constraints, the many temptations of fast-food outlets, convenience stores, and even the grocery store, and all of the above can interfere with both living on a budget and achieving optimal nutrition. The following are just a few of the many planning, shopping and preparation tips that can help you make training on a budget a nutrition success.
COST-SAVING SHOPPING TIPS • BOTTLED WATER ALTERNATIVE — Instead of expensive bottled water use tap water. If you want to avoid chlorine, let your tap water sit open overnight in the fridge before putting the lid on. An alternate is to buy a water-filter pitcher. For a different fresh taste, add slices of lemon or cucumber to your water bottle. • BUY IN BULK — Items such as canned goods, frozen vegetables, rice, pasta, cereal and other dry goods. • BAG IT — Take advantage when meats are on sale. Buy larger quantities and freeze in smaller individual portions. • BUDGET PROTEINS — Look for recipes that use canned meats and beans for a cheaper protein source. • BUY WHAT YOU CAN EAT — When purchasing fresh produce only buy what you will eat in a few days so you don’t waste any
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due to spoilage. Alternatively, purchase produce that has a long shelf life in your fridge (when kept in plastic bags), such as carrots, cabbage, celery, potatoes, apples and oranges. • SKIP CONVENIENCE AND PRE-PREPARED FOODS — Choose regular rice and oats instead of the quick cook varieties; the more processed the greater the cost. Choose whole foods and spend the extra time to prepare … the savings are valuable! • CHOOSE CHEAPER CUTS — Cheaper cuts of beef can be cooked at lower temperatures and for longer periods of time (i.e. 3-4 hours) for an inexpensive alternative in stews, soups and in crockpot meals. • PACK YOUR OWN LUNCH AND SNACKS — You need to avoid processed, packaged and single-serving foods so it may be a bit more work initially to make your own sandwiches, soups or salads, but the effort will save you big bucks. In addition, nutritionally, you can control your meal ingredients. • LIMIT PRE-PACKAGED SPORT FOODS — Sport bars and beverages may be convenient and nutrient-dense, but they are expensive and can be easily made from scratch. Look online for low-fat energy bar recipes. • HOMEMADE SNACKS — Make your own snacks with mixed nuts, dry cereals, raisinsand dried fruits. SRC Bob Seebohar, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS, formerly a sport dietitian with the U.S. Olympic Committee, is now a sports nutrition consultant.
ORGANIZE YOUR KITCHEN Knowing where items, supplies and equipment are located in your kitchen can save precious preparation time. Keep a “running” grocery list to limit the number of times you have to go to the grocery store. COOK IN BULK Cook in batches. Pasta and rice can be easily reheated by pouring boiling water on top. One-pot dishes like stirfries, soups, stews and casseroles are inexpensive meals that go a long way. Portion in freezer safe containers for quick reheated meals on the go. You can prepare a month’s worth of meals in one weekend. INVEST IN REUSABLE FOOD STORAGE CONTAINERS Purchase quality, reusable food storage containers in different sizes and shapes that are microwave-safe and easy to pack. Packing leftovers the night before or making several lunches at once will save time and ensure your meals are portable. TIME-SAVING KITCHEN MUST-HAVES Crockpot – Arrive home to a hot meal by throwing in a few ingredients in the morning, such as veggies, beans and cubes of meat, for quick one-dish meals. Microwave – For quickly cooking potatoes, chicken and fish in a flash. Blender – For cost-saving smoothies to refuel and rehydrate. Cookware – Microwave egg cookers and vegetable steamers will save you time!
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John Kucera showing perfect form moments before breaking his leg in a crash exiting THE CRASH HEARD Canadian the “fallaway” section at Lake Louise in late November, ending his 2010 Winter Olympic dreams. AROUND THE WORLD Photo: Paul Morrison/SRC.
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