Speed team looking for redemption 

Andreson may return at Lake Louise

After a poor showing at the 2002 Winter Games and failing to qualify any skiers for the World Cup finals, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team pulled the plug on the men’s speed team with one event remaining last season and announced plans to rebuild the program to its former glory.

The new look team, which includes members of the development team, will get its first chance to shine at the Lake Louise Winterstart World Cup downhill and super-G events this weekend.

Under the leadership of head coach Burkhard Schaffer from the famed Austrian program, and Paul Kristofic of Toronto, the rebuilding has begun in earnest. The average age of the speed team is 22 years old.

While the coaches don’t claim to be ready to make a run at any podiums this weekend, they spent the off-season training skiers and ensuring that the athletes understand that winning is going to require a total commitment from each individual, and an unmatched work ethic.

They will be watching the skiers carefully this weekend.

Ten Canadian racers took part in the training runs which were scheduled to start on Nov. 27, looking to qualify for one of the six open spots in Saturday’s downhill and four Canadian bibs in Sunday’s super-G.

David Anderson, 23, of Rossland, B.C. will suit up for the first time since he was injured in training for the Olympic super-G.

The day after finishing 38 th in the Olympic downhill, Anderson hit a snowcat winch cable while training, the result of poor communication between groomers and athletes.

A few inches higher, and it’s possible Anderson would never have skied again. As it was, he hit the cable at boot level, causing soft-tissue injuries to his left ankle, right hamstring, and his left shoulder. More seriously, he suffered a compression fracture in a vertebrae as well as a fairly serious concussion.

After a summer of physiotherapy and training, he is ready to compete again.

Although he is still young, Anderson proved that he has what it takes to win back in 2001 with a ninth place finish in the world championships downhill, and 10th place finish in the slalom. In 2002 he was first overall in three Nor Am super-G races at Lake Louise.

"The most important thing for David right now is to get strong and fit as soon as possible," said Schaffer. "He suffered serious injuries and his recovery needs a lot of discipline and patience, but he has the ability to come back and be a very good racer."

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