While the Canadian media may have been deflated by the lack of alpine medals at the 2010 Olympic Games, the athletes were quick to point out that the fact that so many skiers were considered to be contenders was itself a sign that the national program is on the right track.
Last Sunday, as the Alpine World Cup season resumed, Mont Tremblant's Erik Guay put together a near-perfect run on the super G course at Kvitfjell, Norway, edging out Austria's Hannes Reichelt by just two one-hundredths of a second. Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway picked up the bronze medal.
It was Guay's first gold medal in super G and the second gold medal of his career. He also became the second Canadian to win gold medals in both downhill and super G, joining current teammate Manuel Osborne-Paradis.
Guay has been one of the most consistent Canadian skiers in recent years, but after winning five World Cup medals in the 2007 season he has had a challenge getting back to the podium. He earned just one medal in the 2008 and 2009 seasons, while racking up more than 20 results in the top five.
"Yesterday during (Saturday's) downhill race I had a pretty solid run but I did some things that cost me a lot so the race was a little bit of a letdown, and I knew I had to redeem myself today," said Guay after his win. "I took some chances and if finally paid off.
"I'm really excited. It's been three years since I have been on the top of the podium so it feels good to be back on top. It's a little bit of redemption from the Olympic Games since I was only three hundredths away from the podium there, and now I am two hundredths ahead. Sometimes you win on that side and sometimes you lose. This time I was on top of it and it feels great."
The other Canadians were solid, with Manuel Osborne-Paradis 11 th - just half a second back of the podium - and Jan Hudec 17 th .
In Saturday's downhill Guay led the team with a ninth place finish. Teammates Hudec and Osborne-Paradis were 13 th and 21 st respectively.
Didier Cuche of Switzerland returned to the top of the podium in the downhill, followed by Aksel Lund Svindal and Klaus Kroell of Austria.
Guay's good fortune didn't end there. Following the races in Switzerland the team headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany for the World Cup finals. Only the top 25 in each discipline take part, battling for the overall titles.
The downhill took place on Wednesday, and Guay succeeded in tying for third place with Patrick Kueng of Switzerland. Swiss skier Carlo Janka won the gold, followed by Austria's Mario Scheiber.
Manuel Osborne-Paradis placed seventh, just 0.08 seconds back the third spot on the podium in an extremely tight race. The top 15 skiers were separated by less than a second, and just 0.05 seconds separated the top three.
The women's team was in Crans Montana, Switzerland for a speed series before heading to Germany.
The super combined at Crans Montana was cancelled due to the weather but the downhill and super G went ahead as planned.
American Lindsey Vonn cemented her downhill title as well as her lead in the overall standings with a gold medal, one hundredth of a second ahead of Italy's Johanna Schnarf and Switzerland's Marianne Abderhalden.
Emily Brydon was the top Canadian, 11 th .
Dominique Gisin nudged Vonn for the top spot in the super G the following day, with U.S. skier Julia Mancuso earning the bronze.
The top Canadian was Emily Brydon, 16 th , while Britt Janyk was 27 th .
Moving on to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Canadians couldn't capitalize on strong training runs in the final. Emily Brydon went off course to register as a DNF while Britt Janyk placed 19 th .
The top three spots went to Maria Riesch of Germany, followed by U.S. star Lindsey Conn and Sweden's Anja Paerson.
Events continue through the weekend with super G, super combined, giant slalom, slalom and a team event.
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