Looking Back at the Winter Season
Here, we break down some of the Canadian highlights from the 2008-2009 winter sport season. In this crucial season prior to the Olympic Winter Games, Canadian athletes won a total of 28 World Championship medals – putting the nation in a virtual deadlock with Germany and the United States atop the leader board.
• In early March, two Canadian speed skaters captured overall 2008-2009 World Cup titles in two events. Kristina Groves was the world’s best skater in the 1,500 metres while teammate Christine Nesbitt took the crown in the 1,000 metres.
• Alexandre Bilodeau had a tremendous season in freestyle skiing. He won gold in dual moguls at the World Championships. He finished the World Cup season with five straight victories and is the overall freestyle champion for 2008-2009.
• Short track speed skater Charles Hamelin finished third overall at the World Championships – a result that earned him a spot on the 2010 Olympic team. After the entire season he is ranked fourth overall in the 1,500 and 1,000 metres.
• In stunning fashion, John Kucera captured a gold medal in downhill at the World Championships in Val d’Isère, France. Meanwhile, teammate Michael Janyk captured bronze in slalom.
• Alpine skier Manuel Osborne-Paradis made a huge breakthrough in claiming his first career World Cup victory in Norway at the challenging Olympiabakken downhill course.
• Freestyle skier Ashleigh McIvor is world champion in ski cross after a gold medal on March 2. She has been provisionally named to the 2010 Olympic team. Davey Barr added a bronze.
• Freestyle skiers proved they are a force all season long. At the World Championships, they won an impressive nine medals.
• Denny Morrison had a standout season in speed skating. Alongside numerous World Cup medals, Morrison won gold in 500 metres at the World Allround Championships followed by a silver and bronze at the World Single Distance Championships.
• Pierre Lueders proved he remains a force in bobsleigh, winning two World Cup gold medals on Jan. 15 and 17 in the two-man event with David Bissett.
• At the World Snowboard Championships, veteran Jasey-Jay Anderson won gold in parallel giant slalom while Matthew Morison captured bronze. Jeff Batchelor won silver in halfpipe.
• The cross-country ski team had a breakthrough season. Ivan Babikov won a World Cup gold medal in 11 km pursuit just after New Year’s – only the second Canadian man to top the podium. A week earlier, Devon Kershaw took bronze in a 15 km race. And Alex Harvey has won two bronze medals in his rookie year, and was sixth overall at the World Cup finals.
• Canada’s figure skaters have shown the world they are medal contenders at every meet. Patrick Chan and Joannie Rochette capped the season with silver medals at the 2009 World Championships. Dance pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir won a bronze medal.