When Morgan Pridy arrived at the finish of the Olympic men’s super-G on Sunday, he saw something he’s never seen before at any World Cup race: his name atop the leaderboard.
The 23-year-old Whistler native had never before finished in the top 20 of a World Cup race, but he accomplished that feat twice in his two races from Sochi, placing 19th in super combined and an incredible 10th in the super-G.
His time in first place was short-lived on Sunday. Wearing bib No. 6, Pridy grabbed an early lead that was gone by the time Italy’s Peter Fill, starting eighth, reached the finish. But for Pridy, the moment was unforgettable.
“My result felt awesome,” Pridy said in an email from Sochi. “Crossing the finish line with the green light brought on a lot of emotion, and getting to stand in the leaders’ box at the Olympics, even for a short amount of time, is something I will never forget.”
Pridy, who clinched his spot at the Games on the final day of the qualification window by posting a career-best result at Kitzbühel, Austria — the World Cup tour’s biggest men’s stop — arrived in Sochi without much pressure to perform. The Whistler Mountain Ski Club product said he wasn’t sure what to expect out of himself at his first Olympics.
“I knew I wanted to get here, to qualify and be a part of the team representing Canada,” he said. “Once I arrived, though, I worked hard to make it seem like just another race. I guess everyone, myself included, envisions having a medal being put around their neck here. I mean, how could you not? Especially with such a great team around you performing every day in a hundred different sports.
“But I am very happy with how I skied and my super-G placing. I think it’s a great place to build from.”
Last year’s Nor-Am Cup super-G champ had a chance to get his Olympic jitters out of the way in the combined, and Pridy said he was glad that the all-around race came up first on the Sochi schedule.
“It was definitely a good thing to have a start under my belt before racing the super-G,” he said. “I knew coming into this week that super-G would be my best opportunity to make a good result, and that weighed on me a little.”
Ultimately, Jan Hudec’s result — the best finish by a Canadian alpine skier at an Olympics since 1994 — ended up getting all of the attention on Sunday, and rightfully so. The veteran Canadian Cowboy’s bronze was a special moment for everyone working under the Alpine Canada umbrella.
“Jan’s medal means so, so much,” said Pridy. “I never had a doubt that this team would be on the podium, I just didn’t know who it would be.
“I’m so proud to be part of this group of guys, and there couldn’t be a nicer guy to be on the steps here.”
The Canadian speed team resumes its World Cup schedule at the end of the month, with two downhill races and a super-G set for Kvitfjell, Norway.