I was a kid when I watched Nancy Greene race for Olympic Gold. She inspired me so that I asked my parents to sign me up for ski lessons at a little hill outside of Montreal. We were not a skiing family but I loved the sport so much I stuck with it and eventually taught others to ski in Quebec’s Laurentian mountains before heading west to become a ski bum in the Kootenays, British Columbia for a couple of years.
I was thrilled that Nancy agreed to meet me by phone recently. She and her husband Al Raine, Alpine Canada’s former Head Coach, make their home in Sun Peaks, British Columbia, a growing ski resort municipality not far from Kelowna (more on it in a future Roadstories post).
So what does my favourite Olympian think makes an Olympian? Turns out it’s a combination of things…
– technical expertise – genetics – excellent coaching – a lot of hard work and … a bit of luck
Greene says things have changed since her Olympic wins. Racing levels have risen. Competition has gone up. Corporate support is important.
What’s my big takeaway for Sochi 2014 and beyond?
“Look for strength in women’s slalom.” – Nancy Greene
Marie-Michelle Gagnon is currently 4th in World Cup rankings in the Combined. This hugely talented all-rounder competes in all five disciplines (Downhill, Slalom, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Super-Combined). Gagnon, a native of Etchemin, Quebec, made history when she became the first Canadian to win a Super-Combined World Cup race in 30 years.
Brittany Phelan, a Ste. Agathe, Quebec native, is part of a group of emerging young Canadian female slalom specialists. Phelan recorded six top 30 finishes in the 2012-2013 World Cup Season, including her first top ten finish.
Larisa Yurkiw from Wiarton, Ontario, has made an amazing comeback after a horrific knee injury knocked her out of the Vancouver Games and off Canada’s national team. She just posted a career-best 6th place downhill finish in Austria. This combined with a 7th place finish at Lake Louise earlier in the has season netted this downhill specialist a spot on Team Canada.
Marie-Pier Préfontaine from Ste. Agathe des Monts, Québec, was a 2010 Olympian. Her nickname is MP (easier for English Canadians to pronounce she says). A Giant Slalom specialist, Marie-Pier had several top 20 finishes on the World Cup this past year. She would love to see combined ski races in Alpine sking which she thinks would be far more entertaining to watch. We think so too.
Erin Mielzinski, originally from Brampton, Ontario, is a slalom specialist. In March 2012, she became the first Canadian since Betsy Clifford to win a World Cup slalom race. This all-star athlete is a marvel on water skis too. In 2006, she won a silver medal in jump at the world water skiing junior championships.
Elli Terwiel You can bet this slalom specialist from Sun Peaks, British Columbia, will have Nancy Greene, Al Raine, Sun Peaks, and the rest of BC watching her race. With three top 30 finishes under her belt in her break out year, this young Alpine Canada member is someone to watch.
#Canada #Sochi2014 #Alpine #ski #wearewinter #Olympians