Charest handed 12-year sentence 

Sports briefs: Thompson, Dueck voted to B.C. Sports Hall of Fame

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN OLYMPIC COMMITEE - Call to the hall Marielle Thompson will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in May.
  • Photo courtesy of the Canadian Olympic Commitee
  • Call to the hall Marielle Thompson will be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame in May.

Former Alpine Canada ski coach Bertrand Charest was sentenced to 12 years in prison after being convicted of 37 sex-assault charges.

The 52-year-old was found guilty in a Saint-Jérôme, Que. court in June and received his sentence on Dec. 8. Charest initially faced 57 charges and a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. He was convicted on charges against nine of his 12 accusers, who were young women that he coached between 1991 and 1998. All but one was under 18 with the youngest being 12.

According to CBC, Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lépine listed off a number of lasting effects Charest had on his victims, including: "loss of trust, suicidal thoughts, intense stress, problems with intimacy, eating problems and more."

In a statement, Alpine Canada board chair Martha Hall Findlay apologized to the victims.

"Instead of being there for the athletes, instead of providing support when these activities were discovered, Alpine Canada put itself first, not the victims," Hall Findlay's statement read.

"In doing so, Alpine Canada failed them. More than 20 years on, I want to say, personally and on behalf of Alpine Canada, that we are profoundly sorry."

Thompson, Dueck voted into B.C. Sports Hall of Fame

The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame announced its 52nd induction class on Dec. 12 and there were a pair of local connections.

Defending Olympic champion and three-time FIS Crystal Globe winner Marielle Thompson will go in at the age of 25 while Paralympic gold medallist Josh Dueck also received the call.

"I'm thrilled to be inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame," Thompson said in a statement. "I appreciate the recognition and am truly honoured to be among so many accomplished British Columbians. I'm in a unique position receiving this honour while I'm still competing. I'm currently recovering from injury and working hard to get back into skiing shape. This is why I'm unable to be at BC Place in person but I'm certainly there in spirit."

Other athletes going in include former Vancouver Canucks forward Cliff Ronning, longtime MLB pitcher Ryan Dempster and former B.C. Lions linebacker Glen Jackson. As for the builders category, former NHL referee Rob Schick, national swimming head coach Tom Johnson and sport scientist Alex McKechnie will be inducted, as will two teams, the 1991 national men's rugby team and the 1900-18 Rossland women's hockey team.

The induction ceremony is set for May 31.

Canadians hit podium in Calgary

Canada defended home turf well in Viessmann Luge World Cup action in Calgary on the weekend.

In the women's race, Elisabeth Vathje was second to only Germany's Tatjana Huefner, finishing 0.115 seconds back. Another German, Natalie Geisenberger, was third while another Canadian in Kim McRae was just off the podium in fourth. A third Canuck, Brooke Apshkrum, took 14th.

Gough had two fourth-place finishes already this season, so she's glad to claim some hardware.

"It is a great feeling. I've been close a couple of times already this season so I knew I had the potential to be up there. It feels great to do it here, and especially at home in front of all these people cheering for us," Gough said in a release.

On the men's side, Sam Edney also scored a silver, placing 0.386 seconds back of a dominant Felix Loch. Russia's Roman Repilov was third while, like on the women's side, a Canadian was just out of the medals. In this case, Mitchel Malyk was fourth.

As he gets set to retire after the season, Edney stressed how great it feels to excel at Calgary Olympic Park.

"It all started here 18 years ago on this track. I knew it was going to be my final run here so to get it done on my home track in front of these people who have been here since the beginning is very special," Edney said in a release.

"I was really calm all week. I knew I had the potential to do this. I just sat at the start tonight and put it on auto pilot and told myself to enjoy this one."

Whistler's Reid Watts was 17th after he broke through and qualified for a World Cup race for the first time this season.

Edney and Gough took home a second silver with the doubles pair of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith to cap the weekend as Canada placed second in the team relay behind only the Germans. Austria took third.

In the doubles race, Walker and Snith took sixth, 0.478 seconds back of winners Germans Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken. Austrians Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were the runners-up and Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arit were third.

Del Bosco wins ski-cross season opener

Chris Del Bosco got off to a quick start in an Olympic year.

The Canadian ski-cross racer captured the top spot in the first FIS World Cup race of the year in Val Thorens, France, on Dec. 7.

In his return from injury, Del Bosco shared the podium with Arnaud Bovolenta and Terence Tchiknavorian, both of France. Fellow Canuck Brady Leman was sixth while Kevin Drury placed 14th and Whistler's Dave Duncan took 16th.

"I picked it up a bit today," Del Bosco told CBC. "I knew once I was in the race, it was a different story and I just managed to get it done."

In the women's race, Kelsey Serwa reached the medals in third behind winner Sandra Naeslund of Sweden and Heidi Zacher of Germany. Brittany Phelan and Georgia Simmerling were both just off the podium in fourth and fifth, respectively, while India Sherret capped a solid day for Canadians in eighth.

A second World Cup race planned for Dec. 9 was cancelled.

The tour continued in Arosa, Switzerland on Dec. 12 with Canadians bringing home more medals.

On the men's side, Kevin Drury picked up his first-ever podium appearance as he finished second only to Sweden's Viktor Andersson and ahead of Sweden's Victor Oehling Norberg. Ian Deans and Whistler's Dave Duncan also finished highly in fifth and sixth, respectively. Brady Leman took 11th, Kristofor Mahler was 18th, Kevin MacDonald 27th, Del Bosco 33rd and Mathieu Leduc 36th.

As for the women, Phelan hit the podium in third behind champion Naeslund and Germany's Zacher.

Simmerling also made the big final, placing fourth. Serwa placed 16th and Sherret was 19th.

Odine hits snowboard-cross top 10

Meryeta Odine took the top Canadian mantle in the FIS snowboard-cross season opener in Val Thorens on Dec. 13.

Odine made the small final, placing seventh as American Lindsey Jacobellis earned the big-final victory, edging France's Chloe Trespeuch and Italy's Michela Moioi. Zoe Bergermann took 14th, Carle Brenneman 18th and Audrey McManiman 21st. Whistler's Katie Anderson was 27th while Tess Critchlow (29th) and Halli Moyer rounded out the Canadian contingent.

On the men's side, Squamish's Chris Robanske was the top Canadian in 21st while Baptiste Brochu took 24th, Kevin Hill was 35th, Danny Bourgeois took 48th and Eliot Grondin placed 73rd.

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