CALGARY – The Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team put an exclamation mark on its last World Cup performance prior to the start of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, raking in 15 medals – including nine first-place finishes – at the World Para-Alpine Skiing World Cup Finals in Kimberley, BC.
The finals featured two downhill races on Saturday, Feb. 10, and two super-G races on Sunday, February 11.
Mac Marcoux (Sault Ste-Marie, ON) and guide Jack Leitch (Calgary, AB) led the charge for the team, dominating the men’s speed events to win four back-to-back first-place finishes. The golden results earned the duo the title of overall men’s IPC Crystal Globe Champions for the 2017-18 season, as well as individual Crystal Globes in downhill and super-G. The haul adds to Marcoux’s growing collection of Crystal Globes – he was downhill champion in 2016 and 2017, and super-G champion in 2016.
“Honestly, I don’t think we could be any more excited coming out of this race series with four wins,” said 20-year-old Marcoux, who was at times more than four seconds ahead of the rest of the field. “It brings a lot of confidence heading into PyeongChang. I think we still have another gear in the tank, and we’re just excited to get to South Korea and race.”
Marcoux and Leitch weren’t the only ones to hoist a Crystal Globe this series; up-and-comer Mollie Jepsen (Vancouver, BC) reached the women’s World Cup podium for the first time in her career not once, not twice, but three times this weekend. In super-G the 18-year-old battled falling snow and flat light to log her first World Cup win, and also had two second-place finishes: one in downhill and one in super-G. Her super-G performance guaranteed her the title of women’s IPC Crystal Globe Super-G Champion for the 2017-18 season.
“Speed events are definitely my strong suit at the moment, so I’m really happy I was able to put some runs together here,” Jepsen said following her win. “I’ve had a bit of a tough few seasons with injuries, so it’s so great to have this boost right now. It’s perfect timing.”
Jepsen shared the spotlight with teammate Alana Ramsay (Calgary, AB), who also reached the women’s podium three times, placing first in downhill, and cinching a first-place and third-place in super-G. Ramsay said it felt great to win on a hill where she spent much of her early career.
“This gives me good momentum heading into the Games,” said the 23-year-old, who wrapped the World Cup season ranked second overall. “It feels great. I’m a speed skier. Downhill and super-G are my groove. Going into PyeongChang, there will be a lot of great racers, but we’re all skiing really close and I’m going to push hard.”
Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) topped his weekend with a win in super-G, as well as two third-place finishes: one in super-G and one in downhill.
“It was fast,” Guimond, 18, said simply of his winning run. “I had a good top section and lacked a little energy on the flats but I was able to push through. It certainly gives me more confidence heading into my first Paralympics.”
Kurt Oatway (Calgary, AB) also scored a first-place finish in men’s downhill. The 34-year-old edged out a very competitive sit-ski field to reach the top of the podium 0.24 seconds ahead of Japanese powerhouse Akira Kano.
Braydon Luscombe (Duncan, BC), 25, rounded out the podium results by capturing the second World Cup podium of his career with a third-place finish in the men’s downhill.
All 12 athletes of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team have now met technical qualification criteria for the Paralympic Winter Games. Alpine Canada will announce on Friday, February 16 which athletes it will nominate to Team Canada.
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