COC Photo: Mike Ridewood

Canadians Impress Abroad

Canadian athletes competed at World Cup events on snow and ice this weekend and impressed with several podium finishes. A total of nine medals were won in a 48 hour span including three golds.

Bilodeau Back On Top

The 2010 Olympic champion Alex Bilodeau captured his first World Cup victory since 2011 when he captured gold in the dual moguls event in Deer Valley, Utah on Saturday.

The Rosemere, QC native led the way on a night in which Mikael Kingsbury (Deux-Montages, QC) had his consecutive podium streak snapped at 19 after his ski popped off during his quarter-final run.

“It’s definitely very good to be back on top of the podium,” said Bilodeau. “I’m so happy with my skiing, it was improving every run today and so it’s looking good for the rest of the season. I wanted to meet Mikael in a dual on the way to that podium. I think you learn from competing against the best and Mikael is the best right now so for me it’s something I would have liked to have happened if it wasn’t for his bad luck tonight. But, I know he’s going to be back for the next race in Sochi. And, hopefully, I’ll be able to give him a run for the yellow bib.”

On the women’s side Justine Dufour-Lapointe lost her final dual to Olympic champion Hannah Kearney of the US. The 18-year-old from Montreal, QC, was happy with how she rose to the occasion on the weekend.

“I’m really stoked,” said Dufour-Lapointed. “I skied so good in the middle section, I’m just really proud of myself because this morning I woke up and I was just so tired and I thought, ‘Gosh, today I would really like to take a break after five days in a row of skiing; my body is so exhausted,’ but I managed that really well and I told myself that I needed every run and that it was important.”

Speed Skaters Take Sochi By Storm

A day after winning gold in the 500 m event at the Sochi World Cup of Short Track Speed Skating, Olympic champion and Sainte-Julie, QC, native Charles Hamelin was victorious again winning the 1000 m race with a best time of one minute and 26.957 seconds.

“I was trying to be more patient and save energy for the end,” said Hamelin. “So in the middle of the race, I tried a pass on the outside, but I got caught by the Korean with his deep track and I almost fell. I didn’t panic. I got back on my blades and got back to the pack. There was a lot of action, but I was able to make my way through to first and win the race. I hope this is going to be a good sign for me in one year.”

Gabrielle Waddell, of Red Deer, AB, joined the podium on the women’s side when won her first career medal in an eventful 500-metre final. She took the bronze medal in a time 58.661 seconds even though she fell in the race.

“It feels pretty surreal right now,” said Waddell. “I didn’t really dream about my first World Cup medal being that I fall and then by chance that someone else falls. I deserved to be in that A final. I worked my way there. It’s the 500, it’s short track and anything can happen. I’m really happy. It’s pretty exciting.”

In the women’s relay finals, Canada finished in third place behind gold medallist China and Korea, but the Korean squad was penalized. Canada moved up to take the silver medal and Italy was awarded the bronze. Marie-Ève Drolet (Laterrière, QC), Jessica Hewitt (Kamloops, BC), Valérie Maltais (La Baie, QC) and Marianne St. Gelais (Saint-Félicien, QC) skated in the final. Waddell also earned her first relay medal, as she skated in the quarterfinals.

Gaiazova and Jones Celebrate First Medal Together

Banff, AB native Daria Gaiazova and Perianne Jones of Almonte, ON teamed up to win the first Canadian medal on the 2014 Cross Country Olympic venue in Sochi, Russia.

The duo won the bronze medal in a World Cup classic-ski team sprint race on Sunday.

“Oh my God that was so much fun today,” beamed Gaiazova. “I was coming down the finish with the Norwegian girl and I remember thinking to myself ‘Do not be fourth again!’ I just went like hell and fought for the podium. I wanted the silver, but I am so happy to get on the podium.”

Teful Reaches First Podium Of Season

Tristan Tafel of Canmore, AB, captured his first ski cross World Cup medal of the season and the second of his career in Grasgehren, Germany this weekend.

The 22-year-old skier was sitting third behind Sweden’s Victor Oehling Norberg most of the way down but a courageous move off the final jump and a desperate lunge saw him crash-land his way across the finish line and move ahead of the Swede into second by a matter of millimetres.

“I’m ecstatic to get second – it’s a great feeling,” said Tafel. “To make a final pass where I had no time or room, I’m pretty pumped about that. I was in third place and really trying to put the pressure on Victor, who was second. I just pulled on the draft really hard and reached for my life! My left ski caught some soft snow and I spun out just after I crossed the line. I looked up and saw I had come second – it was pretty exciting.”