Julia Murray is travelling in Europe without a cell phone, but she did have access to a computer to answer some questions for Pique after winning her first World Cup ski cross medal - a bronze - this past weekend in Switzerland.
This is Murray's second year on the tour, joining the national team as a rookie to the sport of ski cross at the start of the 2007-08 season. Her best result in her first year was fourth place at Meiringen, Switzerland, but she has consistently placed in the top-10.
After her medal, the 20-year-old Murray ranks ninth in the ski cross standings. Four Canadian women are in the top 10 including Murray, with Kelsey Serwa fourth, Ashleigh McIvor one point back in fifth, and Aleisha Cline 10 th .
Pique: At this point of the season did it feel like it was only a matter of time before you reached the podium?
Julia Murray: I really wanted at least one World Cup podium this year. I figured it was about time when Meiringen came around. It was a sunny day and I felt good. Everything just came together.
Pique: What was the difference in Switzerland? Is there a type of course you prefer, or does it have more to do with start positions, getting the hole shot, etc.?
JM: The course in Meiringen is a fun one. It is a lot about working the rollers on the flats and getting on the ground quick off of the jumps.
Kelsey Serwa and I were together since the quarter finals, moving on in each heat, which was pretty cool. The start consisted of a steep drop with six rollers and a jump to follow. I really like those kinds of starts. I won every start until the finals! That is a great achievement for me.
(In the finals) I was behind Ophelie David of France with Kelsey Serwa and Austrian Katrina Gutenson. There were some controversial moves from Gutenson all day, and with some contact towards Kelsey, Gutenson got ahead of her and managed to pass me on the inside of the first turn. It was a photo finish with Gutenson passing Ophelie and me just on Ophelie's tails.
Pique: It's been said that ski cross is a perfect sport that combines elements of both alpine and freestyle skiing. Given your parents' World Cup careers it seems like a natural choice for you. Does the sport suit your own abilities, and what have the last two seasons been like going from rookie to World Cup medalist?
JM: Ski cross, in my eyes, is one of the most thrilling sports out there for spectators and competitors. It consists of strategic thinking, speed and guts. It feels similar to racing down Whistler Mountain at the end of the day with my buddies. Ski cross goes back to the grass roots of skiing. I push myself to limits I never knew I could get to.
The last two seasons have been a huge learning curve for me. I am still learning about this sport every day. I still feel like a rookie, and hope for more medals to come.
Pique: A lot of athletes with (Canada Ski Cross) point to the strength of the team for their own strength. How has being part of a strong, medal-winning team helped your racing?
JM: Our team has been so strong this year. We all push each other, whether we try to or not. We are all close when it comes to racing. We all know we can beat each other on any given day, so when one of us gets on the podium it just reassures each of us we can do it too. It's powerful being on a team that is so strong.
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