Jan Hudec started off this season with questions about injuries and retirement plans, telling reporters that he was nowhere near ready to put away his long skis. Turns out he was right.
Now he has two medals to his credit, adding a silver on Friday, Feb. 24 in the men's super G at Crans-Montana, Switzerland. It was Canada's fifth medal in as many races, with teammate Erik Guay winning two of his own this season and national team sophomore Ben Thomsen improving his start position from week to week to put himself in a position to earn a silver medal two weeks ago.
"Thank goodness," said Hudec after his race. "I'm glad I finally got one in super G. It was a little bit bumpy when I went down but it really deteriorated for the other guys. It was like plus-10 (degrees Celsius) on the hill.
"The (medal) streak is pretty awesome. We just need to keep the momentum going. The other guys who have been part of the streak are really disappointed today but Erik definitely knows he can be in there. I think he will be out to get one tomorrow (in the downhill on Saturday)."
Didier Cuche of Switzerland laid down the fastest time on his home track, with Hudec following by just 16 one-hundredths of a second. Austria's Benjamin Raich was third.
Erick Guay finished his day in 13th, while Jeffrey Frisch picked up his first top 30 since 2009 with a 23rd place result. Dustin Cook, Louis-Pierre Helie and Benjamin Thomsen finished outside of the top 30 in 35th, 45th and 47th respectively.
Canadians didn't fair so well in a second day of racing at Crans-Montana on Saturday (Feb. 25). Hudec was the top Canadian finishing fifth while Guay finished the day in 13th position. Thomsen finished the day in 42nd. The other Canadians on the team didn't complete their fist runs.
Men's speed coach Johno McBride was confident that the men's speed team would be able to continue the streak. "We're keeping it rolling," he said. "What's the secret? More than anything it's good energy and a sense of confidence. Guys are believing in what they are doing and believing in themselves."
The men's speed team is also not at capacity right now with 2009 world downhill champion John Kucera working his way back and Robbie Dixon on the sidelines with a head injury.
Canadians Jean-Philippe Roy, Philip Brown and Dustin Cook competed in giant slalom on Sunday in Crans-Montana. All three were bumped from competition in their first runs. Massimiliano Blardone of Italy was the big winner of the day and he was followed by Austrians Marcel Hirscher in second and Hannes Reichelt in third.
The women's speed team is also racing this weekend. The downhill race scheduled for Saturday was cancelled due to high winds at Bansko, Bulgaria. American Lindsay Vonn was the fastest super G competitor Sunday and she was followed by Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein and Daniela Merighetti of Italy in third place. Canadians Marie Pier Prefontaine and Larisa Yurkiw didn't finish their first runs.
Check Thursday's Pique for more results.
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