Whistler's Mike Janyk is a much better skier than his trophy case would let on.
He has two medals in slalom to his credit, a bronze at the 2009 world championships and a silver medal in 2006 at Beaver Creek. He's closing in on 25 results in the top 10 and has 11 top five results. Last season alone he earned four top-five finishes on the World Cup.
But Janyk knows he can do better. He regularly wins individual runs and posts the fastest splits on sections of courses, but putting together two podium runs has been a challenge.
"My skills have been there to win for years now, and it's really just a matter of doing it," he said. "I need to refine myself so on race day I can bring my best, where now I'm only showing it on certain courses, on some runs I win and some sections I win - I'm just not showing it all the time."
Janyk said he has been training hard over the summer, improving fitness and agility on snow and during dryland training. He's also spent a lot more time on his mountain bike this year.
The goal is the same as always - to stand on top of the podium.
"My first and foremost goals are to win on the World Cup and to win a crystal globe," he said. "The Olympics and world championships are amazing and my medal at the world championships was amazing, but there is something special about the guys who win a crystal globe like (teammate) Erik (Guay) did. There's more peer respect from an athletes' standpoint."
Winning a crystal globe means being consistently on or near the podium week after week, racking up the points over an entire season.
There is no world championship this season and the Winter Games in Sochi are still more than two years away. As a result, Janyk said this is a "pure" World Cup season with no interruptions or distractions.
Overall, the Canadian men's slalom team has been improving, making history in recent years by placing multiple athletes in the top 15 and top 30. Having so much talent in the group is inspiring, said Janyk, as the skiers get pushed at every race and training opportunity.
"The guys we have on the slalom side - Julien Cousineau, Trevor White, Brad Spence - we can all train with the fastest guys in the world and on certain days race the fastest in the world. Knowing you have a guy behind you like that who's pushing you like crazy, but you're still beating them, you know you're in a place where you can win. I think people will see that happen with the team as we continue to grow and push each other from within."
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