Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Ski Cross Team Looks Strong Ahead of World Cup Opener at Nakiska

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Ski Cross Team Looks Strong Ahead of World Cup Opener at Nakiska

Article excerpt

Canadian ski cross team looks strong again

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NAKISKA, Alta. - The Canadian ski cross team's goal is to win two Olympic medals at the Sochi Games in February.

Considering the depth of the squad, that might be a rather conservative number.

The national team is loaded with experienced veterans and rising stars. Anchored by Chris Del Bosco, Brady Leman, Kelsey Serwa and Marielle Thompson, the Canadians enter the season-opening Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup armed with confidence and podium familiarity.

"This weekend I believe we're fully capable of multiple medals," said assistant coach Willy Raine. "Every World Cup event we go to, we should have somebody on the podium."

Raine has reason to be optimistic, considering the stacked resumes of the team members.

Thompson, from Whistler, B.C., won a Crystal Globe last year as overall World Cup champion and took the silver at the 2013 world championship. Serwa, the 2011 world champion from Kelowna, B.C., underwent left knee surgery earlier this year but has recovered and feels ready heading into the season.

Del Bosco, a Montreal resident, won a world title in 2011 and has 18 World Cup career podiums. Leman was ranked No. 2 in the world last year and is also a podium threat with veteran Dave Duncan of London, Ont.

"The bar is set high for us," Raine said. "We expect it and we're willing to work hard to (get) the results."

Canada has won the Nations' Cup as the No. 1 team on the World Cup circuit in four of the last five years. The squad is looking to build on that momentum when competition begins Friday at the Nakiska Ski Area outside of Calgary.

In ski cross, four skiers race each other down a course of jumps and bumps. Ashleigh McIvor, who retired last year, helped put the sport on the map by winning gold when ski cross made its Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games.

The Canadian women's side is rounded out by Georgia Simmerling of West Vancouver, B.C., and Calgary's Danielle Sundquist. Tristan Tafel of Canmore, Alta., Louis-Pierre Helie of Berthierville, Que., and Mathieu Leduc of Comox, B.C., are the other men's skiers.

"We push each other," Del Bosco said. …

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