Quebec teen one to watch after claiming NorAm title 

Janyk on podium at finals in Nakiska

Although she’s just 16 years old, Quebec Ski Team racer Sophie Splawinski has earned a World Cup start bib for next season.

Competing against American and European skiers at the NorAm level, including members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and national development team, Splawinski, captured the overall 2002 NorAm title at the NorAm finals last week at Nakiska.

She also finished second in the final super G and giant slalom standings and was solid in slalom and downhill events. Second place in the super G and GS standings mean a chance to start in those events at the World Cup level next winter.

Splawinski’s four-discipline total of 803 points was 116 ahead of American hopeful Hilary McCloy. In third in the overall standings was another Canadian, Gail Kelly of Ste-Agnes, Quebec.

"I’ve been impressed with the way I’ve skied, but I’m kind of surprised with the results," said Splawinski, who lives in Montreal. "I didn’t focus on winning NorAms because I really didn’t think it was possible. But I raced the whole circuit and when it seemed like there was a possibility to win, it made it even more fun, more demanding and more challenging."

The last races of the 2002, the NorAm championships were well attended by the top athletes from Canada and the U.S.

Whistler’s Britt Janyk, who dominated the Canadian championships in Whistler the previous week to become both the super G and GS champion, won the slalom on March 22 by a comfortable 1.61 second margin. Splawinski won the bronze medal, edging past Chimene Alcott of Great Britain by 0.04 seconds.

Whistler’s Christina Risler, one of the top junior skiers at the Canadian Championships, finished 11 th .

In the men’s slalom, the American skiers claimed the first nine spots. Ryan Semple of Ottawa was the top Canadian in 10 th .

Third place in women’s GS went to Britt Janyk, who finished behind Caroline Lalive and Julia Macuso of the U.S. Splawinski was fifth for Canada, and Risler tied for 14 th .

Janyk was third again in the second women’s slalom on March 24, behind Resi Stiegler and Julia Mancuso of the U.S. Splawinski was sixth. Rachel Walker of the B.C. Ski Team was the top Whistler skier in 26 th .

The final men’s and women’s slalom events were held on March 25. In the women’s race, Mancuso was the top skier, followed by Janyk and Genevieve Simard from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. Splawinski was 13 th , earning 20 points and the overall title.

The top three men were Americans, but the fourth place finisher, 0.08 seconds out of third, was a complete surprise – Whistler’s Scott Hume, who is currently a member of the B.C. Ski Team.

Hume, 19, has spent a year with the national junior team and has been with the B.C. Ski Team for the past three seasons.

He started the day in 34 th , and was 17 th after his first run. While other competitors were an average of two seconds slower on their second runs, Hume was two seconds faster in posting the fastest second run of the day.

"I’ve been waiting for this the whole season," said Hume. "Being 17 th after the first run, I had no reason to come out slow. This feels awesome and it ended up really well."

Michael Janyk, another Whistler skier who is currently with the national development team, finished sixth.

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