WORCA holds AGM, seeks board members 

Sports briefs: Russian Olympic Committee banned from Games; MacEachran podiums in Austria

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Ertel honoured Amy Ertel, right, receives the Lumpy Leidal Memorial Award from WORCA president Craig Mackenzie.
  • Photo submitted
  • Ertel honoured Amy Ertel, right, receives the Lumpy Leidal Memorial Award from WORCA president Craig Mackenzie.

The Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association (WORCA) had a year to celebrate in 2017.

According to president Craig Mackenzie, WORCA's highlight was opening the long-awaited Lord of the Squirrels trail into the alpine.

"It took us three years to build that trail and to finally ride it completely was a great thing," he said.

WORCA reviewed its year recently at its annual general meeting at the Hilton Resort and Spa on Nov. 17, a date that was later than normal.

"It was an experiment to hold it at this time of year, on the first Thursday after the last toonie. We held it later to try to provide more complete financial numbers," he said. "Attendance was off. The next day was opening day on the mountain, so you're not going to get too many people coming out to a WORCA AGM."

At the meeting, Omer Dagan was elected as executive secretary and Quinn Lanzon was elected as PR director. The race director and youth director positions are currently vacant. Anyone interested in taking over can contact Mackenzie at president@worca.com.

While next year will be somewhat quieter thanks to the Lord of the Squirrels completion, there will still certainly be projects that will keep local riders interested.

"More of the same, I think," said Mackenzie.

"We don't have a big project like Lord of the Squirrels but we are hoping to get permission to expand the riverside trails on either side of the road to Cheakamus Lake. We'd have an up and a down trail into Cheakamus Lake that's off the road," he added, noting the proposals are currently being reviewed by local First Nations.

Also at the AGM, Amy Ertel was awarded the Lumpy Leidal Memorial Award, which is given annually to "a local junior who has been found outstanding as a sportsperson, a volunteer and someone who epitomizes athleticism in our local youth."

For more information, visit www.worca.com.

Russians banned from Olympics

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced on Dec. 5 that the Russian Olympic Committee has been suspended and will not be in attendance at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

The decision came after the Schmid Report by former Swiss president Samuel Schmid concluded "the systemic manipulation of the anti-doping rules and system in Russia, through the Disappearing Positive Methodology and during the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014, as well as the various levels of administrative, legal and contractual responsibility, resulting from the failure to respect the respective obligations of the various entities involved," according to an IOC release.

Individual athletes determined to be clean by a pre-Games Testing Task Force will be allowed to compete under the name "Olympic Athlete from Russia" and the Olympic anthem will be played at any relevant ceremony.

McEachran medals in Austria

Canadian Evan McEachran shone at Stubai in late November.

The slopestyle skier hit his first FIS World Cup podium in Austria on Nov. 26, taking second to Norway's Oystein Braaten, who scored a 91.40 to McEachran's 86.20. American Colby Stevenson took third.

"It's been a pretty amazing weekend, to say the least. I felt really good skiing in practice then in qualifiers I managed to land my dream run on this course, so that felt awesome. Then my second run in qualifiers I got to step it up a little bit and put myself in a better position going into finals.  Unfortunately, the weather wasn't amazing today so I didn't have great training and in my first run I didn't have speed, so I decided to improvise my second run and somehow managed to put it all together and end up in second," Oakville, Ont.'s McEachran said in a release.

Another Canadian, Alex Bellemare, also hit the top 10 in eighth while Whistler's Teal Harle was 21st.

On the women's side, Elena Gaskell and Kim Lamarre were ninth and 10th, respectively, while local Yuki Tsubota took 15th.

Lugers just miss podium

Canadian lugers twice missed out on medals by the slimmest of margins in Altenberg, Germany on the weekend.

Canada took fourth in the team relay behind Germany, Austria and Italy while in the women's race, Alex Gough also placed just off the podium.

Gough was happy all in all with her performance, but was disappointed to leave without a medal.

"As a team, we have to work on finding the consistency. Everyone needs to have a clean and decent run down the track. We know we can do it and I feel we could have been second (again) today. We all need to be there and we are looking forward to having a strong showing in Calgary next week," she said in a release.

In the women's race, Germans Natalie Geisenberger, Tatjana Huefner and Dajana Eitberger swept the podium.

As for the men, Mitchel Malyk was the lone Canadian to qualify, placing 23rd. Germans Felix Loch won, besting Russian Roman Repilov and fellow German Andi Langenhan. Whistler's Reid Watts competed in the Nation's Cup qualifier but did not claim one of the 19 slots.

In the doubles race, the Canadian sled of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith took 22nd. Germans Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken won, with Austria's Peter Penz and Georg Fischler taking second and Germany's Robin Johannes Geueke and David Gamm placing third.

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