Guay makes history at Lake Louise 

Solid weekend for Canadian team

After a disappointing start to the season, the Canadians hit their stride last weekend with both the men’s and women’s teams landing solid results in Lake Louise and Park City.

One athlete, Mont Tremblant’s Erik Guay, stood above the rest with a downhill run at Lake Louise on Saturday for the record books.

With conditions changing from run to run, Guay moved up from the 21 st start position to finish second, edging out an impressive list of World Cup winners and champions to claim Canada’s first medal of the season – and our first alpine racing medal on Canadian soil since Rob Boyd won gold in Whistler back in 1989.

It was also the first time a Canadian had won a medal at the Lake Louise Winterstart races.

"It went really well," said Guay, who at 22 years old is just getting started. "I just did what I had to do.

"Second place is just a dream for me. It’s good to get results so early in the season."

The gold medal went to Michael Walchofer of Austria in one minute, 51.16 seconds. Guay was just 0.69 seconds back to take the silver medal, and Antoine Deneriaz of France was third, just 0.05 back of Guay.

In a CP interview, Guay credited his results to the changes that Alpine Canada Alpin President Ken Read has made to the national program since he took the reigns in the spring of 2002.

Both Read, a member of the legendary Crazy Canucks with five World Cup downhill wins, and Steve Podborski, Canada’s top downhill athlete with eight World Cup victories, were on hand to watch Guay make history.

"I knew he had the capability, but Erik just keeps surprising me," said Read. "What Erik’s demonstrating to me is a maturity, even though he’s young he’s got the skill to be a leader. He leads by example – he just goes out and does the job."

For Podborski, it was rewarding to see the next generation of Canadian skiers stepping up to the world stage.

"He knows number one is the place to be and he’s got the proper attitude for that," said Podborski.

"People measure success in very simple ways – did you win or not? So the podium works for me. It’s vital for the team.

"When we look forward to 2010 and the opportunities for a gold medal there, it’s just a wonderful, wonderful thing."

Guay’s previous best performance came in the World Championships last season when he earned sixth place finishes in the downhill and super G.

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