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The impressive medal haul gave Canada two more medals than France, which finished with 12. France tops the overall points medal rankings after winning seven gold medals, while Canada ranked eighth overall.
The highlight of the week for the Canadian team was a stellar performance by veteran visually impaired skier Chris Williamson, who was crowned world champion in super-combined on Monday. The Toronto, Ont., racer and his guide, Robin Fémy of Mont Tremblant, Que., proudly belted out the Canadian anthem from the top step on the podium as their teammates cheered on.
“It was an extremely proud moment for me,” Williamson said. “Overall I’m quite pleased with the way I skied. I’m leaving with one world championship title, which is nothing to sneeze about. I’m really proud with how the whole team has done – having the most hardware to take home out of all the countries is not something to be shy about. I think it’s something to be proud of and is something to build towards next year in Sochi.”
In total, Williamson won four medals in five events. Sit-skier Kimberly Joines, from Rossland, B.C., also took home four medals. Viviane Forest ofEdmonton, Alta., a visually impaired skier who races with guide Chloé Lauzon-Gauthier of Joliette, Que., made a strong comeback after four years away from world championship racing by winning bronze and silver in slalom and giant slalom.
The less experienced members of the Canadian team didn’t disappoint either: 18-year-old standing skier, Alexandra Starker of Calgary, Alta., won three bronze medals, and 15-year-old visually impaired skier, Mac Marcoux of Sault Ste-Marie, Ont., claimed silver in giant slalom. Mac races with brother and guide, 18-year-old Billy Joe. Both Starker and the Marcoux brothers were making their world championship debuts.
“It’s always awesome to see the veterans on the podium, but it’s just as exciting to see some of our young racers who have come up through our prospect program having success at the international level here,” said Brianne Law, athletic director of the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team.
“We had a lot of trust in our preparation coming into world champs. We stuck to our plan and came here ready to race. Everything was about skiing fast and ultimately the guys laid it out on the line every day and were really successful, so I would say we achieved our goals and more.
“We went into this looking for eight medals and came out with 14, so we couldn’t really ask for much more.”
The performances of the racers who didn’t reach the podium were also hopeful, Law added.
“Especially these last three days, the team was so hungry for success. Every single team member was chomping at the bit and going out of the gate charging. It turned out more successful for some than others, but even for those who didn’t finish some of their races, in time that (approach) will pay off.”
The para-alpine world championships in La Molina wrapped up on Wednesday with a non-medal team event, where the two Canadian teams entered placed sixth and seventh. Racers competed in a ski-cross style event with banked giant slalom turns, which was a treat for fans to watch, Law said. Forest and sit-skier Caleb Brousseau of Terrace, B.C., posted the fastest times of the day in their respective categories.
The team will now enjoy a few days off before travelling to Sochi, Russia, to compete in the IPC World Cup finals. The Sochi races are a chance for the team to test out the hill that will host the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Photo courtesy of Alpine Canada.
SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles