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"The amount of miles that these guys have on me right now is huge and some of this confidence stuff that I have been struggling with in training, just due to the lack of time... especially in the super G. And then (to get that result) on the hill that, you know, took me out three years ago, it was cool that I could come out here."
Kucera won the world championship in 2009 and was one of the top up-and-coming racers on the national team when he broke his tibia and fibula at Lake Louise. He was on pace to return for the 2011 season, but broke the same leg again in training. He required a second surgery; some time of to recuperate and rehabilitate his leg, then made a tentative return last season only to miss the last few amateur races on his calendar with a back injury.
A healthy Kucera racing at his potential is a huge asset for the team.
"For me, Johnny's accomplishment yesterday (in downhill) and specifically today is as good as winning a race," said Alpine Canada president Max Gartner.
"If you've been away from the sport for three years you lose your starting positions; you lose your confidence. To get back out here on the mountain where you had your major injury takes so much mental strength and I couldn't be happier for him. That, for me, was the real performance of the weekend."
Aksel Lund-Svindal earned another gold medal in the super G, while Adrien Theaux of France took the silver and Austria's Joachim Puchner the bronze.
Guay hoped for better, but was happy to have a second good result so soon after his surgery.
"If I look at my run, I thought I skied very well, but I didn't quite take those chances necessary to be on the podium," he said.
"I need a little bit more time on snow to find that middle ground where I am pushing the line and skiing well."
Women in points at Aspen
While the men were racing speed at Lake Louise, the women's technical team was racing giant slalom and slalom at Aspen, Colorado. It was a solid if unspectacular race for the team with athletes earning points in both events, but finishing well off podium pace.
In the giant slalom, Marie-Pier Prefontaine led the team in 13th place, while Marie-Michele Gagnon finished 23rd. The win went to Tina Maze of Slovenia, followed by Kathrin Zettel of Austria and Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany.
In the slalom, Marie-Michele Gagnon was 18th and Brittany Phelan 21st. Gagnon has not failed to qualify for a second run in the first four races of the season and as a result she's currently ranked seventh overall in the world.
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