Guay enters history books with downhill victory 

Canadian great matches Podborski's all-time podiums mark

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PENTAPHOTO/ALPINE CANADA - Erik Guay reacts to his winning time in Saturday's downhill at Val Gardena, Italy. Guay's victory tied him with Steve Podborski for the most all-time World Cup medals won by a Canadian skier.
  • Photo by Pentaphoto/Alpine Canada
  • Erik Guay reacts to his winning time in Saturday's downhill at Val Gardena, Italy. Guay's victory tied him with Steve Podborski for the most all-time World Cup medals won by a Canadian skier.

Erik Guay captured a record-setting victory on Saturday, Dec. 21 in Italy, earning the 20th World Cup medal of his career to tie Steve Podborski for the most all-time by a Canadian skier.

Guay tamed the downhill course at Val Gardena by skiing a tremendous bottom section on Saturday to match Podborski's record, winning by 12 hundredths of a second over Norway's Kjetil Jansrud.

"It is an absolute special victory today," said Guay, who finished third at Val Gardena last season. "It was kind of sweet revenge today to come back in this fashion, especially after the summer I had with knee surgery, no skiing for seven months and a big question mark on whether I'd even be competing at Lake Louise and in this part of the year. It's a great day and I'm kind of on Cloud Nine right now."

Saturday's result marked the fourth victory of Guay's career, and the 14th time he's stepped onto a World Cup downhill podium. Podborski earned all 20 of his top-three finishes in downhill between 1979 and 1984.

Podborski, a member of the legendary Crazy Canucks, said he was pleased to share the record with Guay.

"I want him to break every record as soon as possible," said Podborski, who is Chef de Mission for Canada's team at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia, this winter.

"What we should do in Canada is lift each other up. The better he is, the better we are, and that means when Erik is finished and he's retired like me and he's maybe the Chef de Mission for the Olympic team 20 or 30 years from now, there will be another young racer that he can cheer on to break his records, and that means we'll be better than we were before."

France's Johan Clarey finished third, while Whistler Mountain Ski Club alum Manuel Osborne-Paradis finished seventh and Canadian teammate Jan Hudec was ninth. Saturday's result came one day after Hudec finished second in the Val Gardena super-G.

Whistler's Conrad Pridy finished 39th from the No. 49 start position. Fellow local product Robbie Dixon finished 53rd in his first World Cup downhill start since March 2012.

Look for a complete wrap of races from Val Gardena in the Thursday, Dec. 26 edition of Pique.

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