Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kelsey Serwa, Marielle Thompson Keep Canada Strong in Women's Ski Cross

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Kelsey Serwa, Marielle Thompson Keep Canada Strong in Women's Ski Cross

Article excerpt

Serwa, Thompson fill women's ski cross void

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NAKISKA, Alta. - Olympic women's ski cross champion Ashleigh McIvor may have retired, but the Canadian women still have weapons heading into the next Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

"Fierce," is Kelsey Serwa's description of the women's team.

"We'll be a force to be reckoned with for sure," the reigning world champion said Thursday following training for the season's first World Cup. "We're all good at different things and we all work together and push each other and help each other out."

McIvor announced her retirement last month, but hadn't actually competed since injuring her knee in January, 2011.

During her absence, Serwa from Kelowna, B.C., won the women's world title that year. Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., then became the first Canadian to capture an overall World Cup title in ski cross.

The 20-year-old Thompson won gold in three races and landed on the podium in another three last season.

"Last year, I took it race to race and didn't get too excited over the results and didn't get too ahead of myself," Thompson said. "I'm going to keep with that tactic and hopefully it works out for me."

The Audi FIS World Cup at Nakiska Mountain Resort west of Calgary will include 190 racers from 25 countries racing for $30,000 in prize money.

In ski cross, four skiers race each other down a course of jumps and bumps. The qualification rounds are Friday followed by Saturday's finals at the ski hill in Kananaskis.

"History says we do well at home," head coach Eric Archer said. "The length of this course is definitely an advantage this early in the season because it's going to be a leg-burner. It's going to a minute and 10 seconds long, so it's a bit longer than average.

"We'll see what other teams did over the summer."

Calgary's Danielle Sundquist, Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C., and Mariannick Therer of Saint-Saveur, Que., will join Thompson and Serwa in the women's field.

Calgary's Brady Leman, who was second in the overall men's rankings last season, Dave Duncan of London, Ont., Tristan Tafel of Canmore, Alta., Ian Deans of Kelowna B. …

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