Whistler native Broderick Thompson took home a bronze medal in the Super G event at the World Cup stop in Beaver Creek, Colo. on Dec. 2—the first podium finish of his World Cup career.
Thompson’s goal before the race was simply to “punch in to the top 30” from his start position of 35. However, everything came together perfectly for the 27-year-old skier, and he was able to edge out Germany’s Andrea Sander by just three hundredths of a second to claim his spot on the podium.
Despite being happy with his run, upon crossing the finish line, Thompson still had no idea that a podium was in the cards and assumed the cheers he heard were just due to being one of the North American skiers, who usually get a bigger applause from the crowds in Canada and the U.S.
“It felt like a good run. The way I have been skiing and training has been fast, and I knew that if I skied the way I can ski that the results would come,” he told Pique this week. “And about halfway down things were going well, but you are always pushing the next turn and the next turn, and until you reach that finish line you are not really thinking about the results as much as the technical focus and pushing the limits.”
“I didn’t really accept it until I crossed the finish line. I looked at the crowd and thought, ‘That was fun, what a run’ and then I saw the time and I was just blown away, honestly. It’s really a dream come true to get on the podium of a World Cup.”
This podium came in Thompson’s 48th World Cup start and represents the first top-three finish for a Canadian in a men’s speed race since 2017. It also comes in his first fully healthy season since suffering a traumatic knee injury that kept him out of competition for nearly two years.
“In November of 2018 that [injury] took me out for two years. So I was rehabbing and getting back to snow for two years and then last year I raced World Cup again kind of easing into it,” said Thompson, who was finally able to ski without his knee brace again this season.
“So I was skiing fast before that injury and then I got hurt so this result means all that much more to show that I can be there again and be competitive and get the ultimate goal of landing in the World Cup podium. I think even as an athlete you always have a slight bit of doubt and I think this will be a big confidence boost just to show that our team can do it and I can do it.”
For Thompson, this podium finish fulfills his requirements for a berth to the 2022 Beijing Olympics in February, almost guaranteeing the born-and-raised Whistlerite will be heading to his second straight Winter Games.
And with the pressure of qualifying now off him, Broderick said moving forward this season he can ski the way he wants, while working hard to build off this finish without having to deal with the pressure that comes with trying to qualify for the Games.
Currently, Thompson is back home in Whistler for a few days before flying out to Val Gardena, Italy for the next stop on the World Cup circuit from Dec. 15 to 18.
With his Downhill start position being lower than the 35th position he started his Super G podium run in, Thompson said his focus is now on getting himself into the points and a better start position before the big events in Kitzbuehel, Austria and Wengen, Switzerland in the new year.
Strong start to the season for the Canadian Team
Thompson’s third-place finish—followed by a 20th-place the next day, also in Super G—may be the high mark for the Canadian team so far this season, but it wasn’t the only notable finish early in the season.
On the women’s side, Canada’s Marie-Michele Gagnon took home a pair of ninth-place finishes in Super G followed by a 16th-place in Downhill at the Lake Louise World Cup.
Also in Beaver Creek this past week, Trevor Philp and James Crawford both cracked the top 20 with 18th- and 12th-place finishes in Super G, respectively.
Crawford also added a couple top 30 finishes, coming 29th in another Super G as well as a 30th-place finish in Downhill in Beaver Creek, and a 24th-place finish in Downhill in Lake Louise.
The Seger brothers also cracked the top 30 of a Beaver Creek Super G race, with Riley taking 22nd and Brodie finishing 26th.
Jumping over to freestyle skiing, Canada’s Mikaël Kingsbury won the first event of the season on Saturday in Ruka, Finland, followed by Kerrian Chunland, Brendan Kelly (Pemberton) and Gabriel Dufresne who landed in 17th, 18th and 25th, respectively, but missed the cut for the finals.
On the women’s side, Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was the leading lady with her 12th-place finish, while Whistler’s Sofiane Gagnon was close behind in 16th.
Meanwhile, in the first para-alpine races in nearly two years, Mollie Jepsen, Kurt Oatway and Alexis Guimond all found the podium, combining for a total five medals in the two days of men’s and women’s Super G races in Austria. Jepson finished with back-to-back bronze medals, while Guimond and Oatway each had a third-place finish, with Guimond adding a silver medal to his haul.