First Person: Ken Read 

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

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It’s something we want to emphasize so that it’s not just something you focus enormous amounts of time and energy to once you reach the top, it’s something you should be doing all the way along, really from K1, age 11, all the way up to the top.

Dealing with K1’s of course you’re just giving them instruction, giving them the tools of what you need to do, and the techniques to train. In K2 you start to use weights and get into training regimens and so on. It’s something that other teams do and we need to do the same.

Pique : The team obviously overcame a lot of obstacles this year, and also managed to hit a few milestones along the way, a bunch of new Canadian records. Were these milestones important to the team as a whole?

KR : Any milestone, any time, whether it’s an athlete’s personal best or something that’s a true breakthrough… that’s something that’s an enormous confidence booster to every single athlete. I have to single out Thomas Grandi’s hitting the podium at Kitzbuehel, that was a breakthrough. That was something that hadn’t been done before, and in my view it underscored the fact that we can.

The girls do have a history of success in the technical side, but on the men’s side when you’ve never done it, there’s always a lingering doubt because you haven’t broken into that territory. Now that it’s been broken the objective is not just to be on the podium but actually to win.

And we start to believe that we can. We saw Grandi, and then we saw (Julien) Cousineau and (Jean-Philippe) Roy, and towards the end we saw (Mike) Janyk and (Ryan) Semple really coming on, as well as some of the younger athletes like Paul Stutz. I remember (Stutz’s) comment at Kitzbuehel that it was not only cool to be in the race, but to be there when a Canadian does so well. Those are the valuable assets that come with good performances.

Beyond that, when you see five girls qualifying for a second run in Are (Sweden), and their belief in coming out and saying ‘one of us could have won this’.

Or Emily Brydon and the consistency that she started to show, and her coming to the end of the year saying ‘I know I could have done better’. It’s the kind of thing that you wait for, you want to hear it coming from the athlete.

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