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Canadians on top in Chilean World Cup

Local may have qualified for Olympics The World Cup snowboarding season got an early start – or late finish – last week with an official event in Valle Nevado, Chile.

Local may have qualified for Olympics

The World Cup snowboarding season got an early start – or late finish – last week with an official event in Valle Nevado, Chile. With the 2002 Winter Olympics just around the corner, the event was an important qualifier for the athletes, who are competing for a limited number of spaces in the halfpipe and freestyle events.

The event was considered the last of the 2000-2001 season, and for many a last chance to earn a quota spot for their countries and themselves in the Winter Games.

Whistler’s Lori Glazier, a member of the 1998 Olympic Team, may have earned herself a spot with a fourth place finish in the halfpipe on Sept. 7.

"Lori was in 27 th last year, and with this result we think she made the cut," said Whistler’s Tim O’Brien, a member of the Canadian Snowboard Federation executive. "The FIS (Federation Internationale de Ski) will release the list at the end of November, and we hope she’s on it."

Glazier, who finished sixth in the World Championships last season, is also optimistic. "It was a tough competition, the best in the world were there, and I stood up beside the reigning gold and silver Olympic medalists on the podium," she says.

"I’m nailing my 720s now, and I’m going to work on my 900s. I’ve seen the best out there. I’m not intimidated any more."

She also credits her performance in Chile to her coach and "best friend Joe McAdoo. He taught me to snowboard and he was there with me in Chile. I don’t know if I could have done it without him."

The only other Canadian woman to qualify for a spot is Vancouver’s Natasza Zurek, who underwent knee surgery this summer to repair a damaged ACL. She is expected back in the fall.

Two Norwegians landed on the podium, with Kjersti Buass and Stine B. Kjeldaas finishing first and third. Nicola Thost, the reigning Olympic champion, won the silver.

"I was having a lot of fun in the pipe today," said Kjeldaas, the world champion and Olympic silver medalist. "And I was really happy for Kjersti – I almost couldn’t concentrate any more. My main goal today was to keep the Olympic spot for Norway."

Other noteworthy Canadian performances belonged to Dominique Vallee in 21 st , Maelle Ricker in 24 th , and Mercedes Nicoll in 32 nd . Ricker, a former world champion in boardercross, underwent knee surgery two weeks before Zurek and is already back on her board. Nicoll hails from Whistler and was a member of the Whistler Valley Snowboard Club before she made the leap to the national team.

Spain’s Iker Fernandez won the men’s halfpipe, followed by Markus Jonsson of Sweden and Jonas Emery of Switzerland. Whistler’s Trevor Andrew was the top-ranked Canadian, finishing sixth. Mike Michalchuk was 18 th .

In the parallel giant slalom on Sept. 8, another Olympic event, two members of the Canadian team managed to make it to the quarter-finals. Jasey Jay Anderson, the overall World Cup champion last season, finished eighth. Mark Fawcett, another Olympian, finished seventh. If all goes well, Canada will send four members of the Alpine team to the Olympics.

The top four spots belonged to Kosir Dejan of Slovakia, Markus Ebner of Germany, Stephen Copp of Sweden, and Alexander Koller of Austria.

In the women’s PGS, the top Canadian was Melissa Barclay in 21 st , followed by Helene Cloutier 30 th .

In the snowboardcross, two Canadians made it to the podium – Jasey Jay Anderson was second and Drew Nielsen was third, sandwiched between Xavier Delerue of France in first and Juan Beveraggi of Argentina who was fourth.

The women’s SBX went to Karine Ruby of France, followed by Russia’s Maria Tikhvinskaja, Austria’s Brigitte Holaus, and Sweden’s Lina Christiansson.

The 2001-2002 Canadian Snowboard Team, as it currently stands, includes the following athletes.

Men’s Halfpipe (6)

Trevor Andrew

Gabriel Authier

Brett Carpentier

Mike Michalchuk

Guillaume Morisset

Men’s HP Development (3)

David Melancon

Charles Perreault

Women’s Halfpipe (6)

Kim Dunn

Lori Glazier

Manon Roy

Dominique Vallee

Natasza Zurek

Women’s HP Development (3)

Stacey Burke

Josiane Bruneau

Stephanie Gervais

Mercedes Nicoll

Emily Beach

Men’s Alpine (8)

Jasey-Jay Anderson

Francois Boivin

Darren Chalmers

Mark Fawcett

Ian Hadgkiss

David Vaughan

Jerome Sylvestre

Ryan Wedding

Men’s Alpine Development (3)

Matt Horne

AJ Johnson

Mike Kwiatkowski

Women’s Alpine (4)

Melissa Barclay

Helene Cloutier

Michele Charles

Alexa Loo

Women’s Alpine Development (4)

Laura Behan

Constance Boisvert

Aimee Newton

Sarah Plummer