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Fairmont Chateau Whistler's O’Rourke cracks list of top 10 pros

Sports briefs: Kripps claims double bronze; Irving hits aerials podium
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AWARD WINNER Padraic O’Rourke of the Chateau Fairmont Whistler took 10th place in the Professional Golf Association of BC’s Professional Development Program in 2020. Photo by Eric MacKenzie/PGA of BC

The COVID-19 pandemic couldn’t stop Padraic O’Rourke’s professional development.

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler Golf Course’s head pro took 10th place in the Professional Golf Association of BC’s Professional Development Program in 2020, marking the seventh consecutive year that O’Rourke cracked the top 100 and his first time in the top 10 in the order of merit. It was a banner year for O’Rourke, who took home the association’s Dick Munn Golf Professional of the Year Award in October.

Pros earn professional development points “[t]hrough participation in continuing education, competitions, the PGA of BC Awards Program, annual Buying Show and various forms of volunteerism…” according to a release.

O’Rourke was the lone Whistler or Pemberton pro to make the top 100.

Kripps claims back-to-back bobsleigh bronze

The Canadian crew may have joined the IBSF World Cup tour partway through the season, but Justin Kripps continues to look like he didn’t miss a beat.

Kripps has now hit the podium in three consecutive races after picking up a pair of third-place finishes at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

In the two-man contest on Jan. 16, Kripps and Cam Stones were 0.92 seconds back of winners Francesco Friedrich and Alexander Schueller of Germany while another German sled, Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer, took second. Meanwhile, former Whistlerite Chris Spring and Mike Evelyn were second in their World Cup season debut.

In the four-man race the next day, Kripps’ sled, including Stones, Ben Coakwell and Ryan Sommer was 0.49 seconds back of Friedrich, who took the win while Austria’s Benjamin Maier was second. Spring’s sled, with Evelyn, Mark Mlakar and Shaquille Murray-Lawrence, placed 11th.

“It was awesome for us to get a double podium here in St. Mortiz. We sure missed the crowds and the champagne this year but we’re loving building this momentum together,” Kripps said in a release.

In women’s action, Christine de Bruin and Sara Villani were in the top Canuck sled, taking eighth as Germans Stephanie Schneider and Leonie Fiebig topped Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Sylvia Hoffman and Switzerland’s Melanie Hasler and Irina Strebel. The second Canadian sled of Alysia Rissling and Dawn Richardson Wilson tied for 11th.

As for skeleton action, Elisabeth Maier was the top Canadian in sixth, as German Tina Hermann bested Austria’s Janine Flock and German Jacqueline Loelling. Fellow Canadian Jaclyn Laberge, meanwhile, was 11th.

On the men’s side, Kevin Boyer was the quickest Canadian, taking 18th while Mark Lynch was 24th. At the top of the heap, Germany’s Alexander Gassner topped Latvia’s Martins Dukurs and South Korea’s Sungbin Yun.

Irving claims aerials podium

Quebec City aerialist Lewis Irving claimed the fourth FIS World Cup podium of his career in Yaroslavl, Russia on Jan. 17 in the second of back-to-back competitions.

Irving’s tally of 120.36 was 4.98 back of Russia’s Maxim Burov, while another Russian, Stanislav Nikitin, placed second. 

In the Jan. 16 event, Irving was 17th as Burov bested countryman Pavel Krotov and Switzerland’s Noe Roth.

On the women’s side, Marion Thenault took Canada’s top result with a sixth-place showing on Jan. 16 as Australia’s Laura Peel downed American Ashley Caldwell and Russian Liubov Nikitina. Meanwhile, Flavie Aumond and Justine Ally were 17th and 19th, respectively.

Ally had a 12th-place finish in the Jan. 17 competition as American Megan Nick came away with the win over Belarus’ Alla Tsuper and fellow American Kaila Kuhn. Other Canadians were Aumond in 16th and Thenault in 22nd. 

Grenier cracks top 15

Valerie Grenier came away with Canada’s top performance on the slopes in FIS World Cup action over the weekend.

Grenier scored a 15th-place showing in the giant slalom and Kranjska Gora, Slovenia on Jan. 17, as Italy’s Marta Bassino came away with the victory over Switzerland’s Michelle Gisin and Slovenia’s Meta Hrovat. Cassidy Gray, meanwhile, was 26th in her second World Cup start.

In the Jan. 16 giant slalom, Grenier was one slot back in 16th as Bassino bested France’s Tessa Worley and Gisin.

In men’s action at Flachau, Austria, Erik Read was the lone Canadian to finish in the points. In the Jan. 17 slalom, he placed 26th as Norway’s Sebastian Foss-Solevaag earned the win over Austria’s Marco Schwarz and France’s Alexis Pinturault. 

In the Jan. 16 slalom, Read placed 27th, while Austria’s Manuel Feller took the top step over France’s Clement Noel and Schwarz.