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Janyk leads Canadians into World Cup finals

Whistler skier fifth in GS With one week to go before the World Cup finals in Lillehammer, Norway, the Canadian men’s and women’s teams made one final push.

Whistler skier fifth in GS

With one week to go before the World Cup finals in Lillehammer, Norway, the Canadian men’s and women’s teams made one final push. Since only the top-25 skiers in each discipline qualify for the finals, members of the technical teams had one more chance to improve their standings.

While the results didn’t drastically change the standings, the races in Are, Sweden, were an important milestone in the career of Whistler’s own Britt Janyk.

In the giant slalom on March 6, the 22-year-old Janyk finished a personal best fifth overall. More importantly, she posted the fastest first run of the day, finishing 0.33 seconds ahead of Sweden’s own Anja Paerson, one of the most dominant technical skiers on the World Cup circuit.

Janyk said she had no idea that her first run would put her at the top of the leader board, but she knew she was onto something.

"I felt that I was skiing well, and I could hear the commentator as I came down, the excitement in his voice, and I thought ‘okay, it’s a decent run’. When I got to the bottom and saw my time, I was blown away," said Janyk.

"I was doing anything different, it’s so far into the season, I just went out and raced. All along I knew I had it in me, but now I have the confidence to go out and do it. I had nothing to lose, and a good mental focus for that day."

Janyk hopes to carry that momentum into the World Cup finals. "I know I can do well, and I’m looking forward to it. After that I can relax a bit."

She dropped to fifth after starting last in the second run, but still finished just 0.67 seconds back of Paerson, who took the gold medal. The silver went to Daniela Marighetti of Italy, followed by teammate Denise Karbon.

Leading after the first and finishing so close to her first World Cup podium, Janyk has seen the light.

"I know the podium is in sight, and that I belong amongst the leaders. It won’t happen every day, but I’ll certainly strive for it with every run."

Although she had already qualified for the World Cup finals in the giant slalom, her result moved her up into 16 th place in the standings, and a better start position.

For Paerson, it was her fifth World Cup win of the season and her eighth podium result.

Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec, was the only other Canadian to qualify for a second run, and finished the day in 27 th place.

In the slalom on the following day, Janyk once again led the Canadian team with a 15 th place finish, another personal best on the World Cup circuit. Unfortunately, it was not enough to put her in the top-25, and she finished the 2002-03 season ranked 29 th in the discipline.

"I’m really happy with my first run, it was definitely a fight from the back," said Janyk, who started the day from the 36 th spot. "Both runs were solid, and 15 th is my best slalom result, so I’m really happy with the day."

Allison Forsyth of Nanaimo moved up from 45 th position at the start of the day to finish 25 th overall.

The win once again went to Janica Kotelic of Croatia, her 12 th podium of the season. Paerson took the silver medal, and Monika Bergmann of Germany was third.

Meanwhile the men were in Shigakogen, Japan for a giant slalom and slalom, although the GS was eventually cancelled as a result of high winds. The slalom went off as planned on Sunday, but it took a whole night for the course workers to get the course in shape after a snow storm.

Thomas Grandi was the top Canadian, finishing 15 th with a strong second run.

"I had a really good run in the first run, but made two really big mistakes and ended up 25 th ," said the 30-year-old from Canmore.

The wind and snow picked up for the second run, but Grandi still managed to close 10 spots in the standings.

Following the event in Japan, Grandi sits 16 th in the slalom and 18 th in the GS.

The gold medal was shared by Kalle Palander of Finland and Rainer Schoenfelder of Austria. The bronze went to Giorgio Rocca of Italy.

**** Canadians in World Cup Finals

After four months of racing, the World Cup Finals in Lillehammer, Norway will determine the overall World Cup standings for the 2002-03 season. Although a few athletes already have wrapped up their titles – Stephan Eberharter’s downhill title to name one – the overall titles are still up for grabs.

The finals run from March 12 to 16, and include downhill, super G, slalom, and giant slalom events, plus a combined event. To qualify, a skier had to be ranked in the top-25 of a discipline.

Although a few Canadians fell short of the mark this year, we will still be well represented in Norway.

Downhill

Melanie Turgeon of Quebec City finished this season with the World Championship gold medal, and 13 th place overall in the downhill rankings. She was the lone Canadian to qualify in the downhill.

Super G

Although none of the men qualified, Canada will have three female athletes in the super G finals. Leading the pack is Turgeon in 14 th place. Emily Brydon of Fernie is 18 th , and Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec, 19 th .

Slalom

Thomas Grandi of Canmore, Alberta was the lone Canadian to crack the top-25 in the slalom this year.

From the women’s team, Whistler’s Britt Janyk came the closest and finished 29 th overall – just nine points back of the top-25.

Giant Slalom

Once again Thomas Grandi is the only Canadian in the top-25.

From the women’s team, Janyk was ranked 16 th , Allison Forsyth of Nanaimo 18 th , and Simard 22 nd .

For more information on the World Cup Finals, visit www.lillehammer2003.no




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