First Person: Ken Read 

Ski team on track. Despite injuries, 2004 was a good for Canadian ski racers

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Still, the Canadians walked away from the season with a few more milestones and in a better position than they were the year before.

Pique talked with Ken Read about the success of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, and his plans for the future.

Pique: What is your overall impression of this past season? It’s been a pretty crazy year with all of the injuries, but you’ve had a few successes as well.

Ken Read: The overall impression I have is that I’m really pleased with the way the team responded this year.

Some of the goals were, number one, to obviously keep trying to push those who were in a position to challenge to be able to do so, the Thomas Grandis the Erik Guays, the Genevieve Simards, and I think we were successful.

We had another objective this year, which was to increase our number of quota positions in World Cups, because that was a weak point for us – without quotas, you can’t start athletes. And we were able to increase our quotas, in some cases quite substantially, in all disciplines except for women’s slalom. At the Nor-Am level, when you look down into the system, we got the majority of the Nor-Am spots that come with the Nor-Am races in head-to-head competition with the Americans.

And the third part was the performance of the World Junior Team, and it was pretty gratifying to see the depth out there. There were medals, but also good performances from athletes that were close but didn’t get to the podium.

Our success was amazing, especially in light of the fact that early on we had the injury plague…

Pique : I guess you can’t really describe the kind of season it was or your success without getting into all the injuries.

KR: Yes, and I think that showed great character on the part of the athletes that we had that going on and yet other athletes stepped up and performed well. And from the athletes that got injured, the level of support for those that were still out there on the road was a really nice thing to see.

I think it showed a lot of character and showed the depth that we’re trying to build, that we would have a couple of key performers like Melanie Turgeon and Erik Guay, and lose them for the year, and still have others stepping up with good performances.

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