Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Thompson Wins Gold in World Cup Ski Cross; Leman Takes Men's Bronze

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canada's Thompson Wins Gold in World Cup Ski Cross; Leman Takes Men's Bronze

Article excerpt

Canada's Thompson wins World Cup gold

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NAKISKA, Alta. - Canadian ski cross star Marielle Thompson accomplished two goals in one race Saturday.

She opened the World Cup season with an impressive victory and locked up a spot on the Olympic team in the process.

Thompson held off defending champion Fanny Smith of Switzerland in the women's final to lead a two-medal day for Canada at Nakiska Ski Area. Brady Leman of Calgary took the men's bronze, finishing just behind Jonas Devouassoux of France and defending champion Armin Niederer of Switzerland.

Thompson's powerful start served her well in all four heats and helped her lead from start to finish in the final.

"She had a simple plan today, it was just keep nailing that start and go," said Canadian head coach Eric Archer. "I go, 'If you can think about the start only, you're going to be skiing with the lead all day.'

"She never saw anybody's butt today and it was awesome."

Thompson, from Whistler, B.C., won a Crystal Globe last year as the overall World Cup champion and took the silver at the 2013 world championship. She said it was hard to believe that she had booked her ticket for Sochi.

"I don't know if it's really hit me yet," she said. "I don't even know. It's just super wild that I can represent Canada at the Olympics."

Thompson was the only Canadian to pre-qualify for Sochi through method-A criteria, meaning she needed just one top-12 result this season to be all but guaranteed a spot at the Games.

She fought off a nagging cold and frigid conditions on the long Mighty Peace course for the win.

"It's all about the start on this course," Thompson said. "I was in that far gate so I knew I'd really have to have a rocket-fast start and I pulled one off and just led the whole way down."

Ophelie David of France won the bronze.

In the men's final, Leman made a desperate push before coming away with a third-place result. …

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