Canadians earn one gold, two silver and one bronze at Whistler World Cup
When commenting on the Canadian Freestyle Ski Teams medal hopefuls in the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, Team Leader Todd Allison said there wasnt one or two medal hopefuls, but 14.
"Everyone on the team has shown that they can win on any given day."
Last weekend, the freestyle team proved him right, winning four out of a possible 12 medals, and qualifying more than a dozen athletes for the finals.
The weekend started right for the Canadians, with two Canadian men and two Canadian women in the final round of eight in the dual moguls on Jan. 26.
Rachel Belliveau, the 2001 junior world champion, went on to make her first World Cup podium appearance with an unbelievable gold medal performance.
Like the rest of her teammates, the 21 year old from Ste-Foy, Quebec, benefited from a more intense summer training program.
"I didnt really think anything was tough (today)," she said. "In the final I had a little trouble on the top air, but I had big runs all day long."
To get into the semi-finals, Belliveau beat Canadian Olympic hopeful Tami Bradley, who divides her time between Vancouver and Whistler. In the semi-final heat she beat Miyuki Hatanaka of Japan to make the finals against Margarita Marbler of Austria.
Kari Traa of Norway went on to win the bronze medal ahead of Hatanaka.
The other woman to make the finals was 24 year old Syliva Kerfoot, a Vancouver-Whistler skier who is currently competing with the National Moguls Development Team.
Bradley, Jennifer Heil, Elisa Kurlowicz and Kristi Richards tied for ninth after failing to qualify for the round of eight.
In the mens competition, Stephane Rochon took the silver medal and second place overall in the World Cup dual mogul standings. It was the 27 year olds fifth medal of the 2002 season.
The gold medal went to Garth Hager of the U.S.
"I decided to take every run like it was an Olympic run and not try to think it was like dual moguls," said Rochon. "If someone had asked me who I skied against each round today I wouldnt have been able to tell them. I was just focusing on what I was doing.
"I feel ready for the Olympics but obviously the Americans are very strong and theyll be skiing before a home crowd," he said.
Richard Gay of France won the bronze medal against Junpei Endou of Japan.
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