Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Marielle Thompson, Brady Leman Take Gold in Ski Cross World Cup

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Marielle Thompson, Brady Leman Take Gold in Ski Cross World Cup

Article excerpt

Canada claims gold in ski cross World Cup

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BLUE MOUNTAIN, Ont. - Marielle Thompson found herself in an unfamiliar position in Sunday's ski cross final -- in second spot after winning her previous three heats in wire-to-wire victories.

But the most consistent ski-cross racer on the planet simply bided her time as if she was stalking prey, and when she zoomed past Sandra Naeslund of Sweden halfway down the hill, a roar went up from the crowd at Blue Mountain Resort.

Thompson capped her thoroughly dominant World Cup season with a victory, and was presented with her third Crystal Globe as the season's overall champion.

"I think any time I'm behind in a heat I just sit and try to be patient," the 24-year-old from Whistler, B.C., said. "I know there's that big long straightaway at the end and I just needed to wait for my chance and I'm glad it worked out in the end."

The victory was Thompson's seventh on the season, and kicked off an excellent day for Canada.

Canada finished 1-2 in the men's final with Brady Leman winning gold and Chris Del Bosco claiming silver.

Canada was presented with the Nation's Cup as the top team on the season.

The solid result was the perfect final tune-up for the freestyle world championships which begin Tuesday in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Thompson, who won gold at the 2014 Sochi Winter Games, will have an Olympic-sized target on her back both in Spain and next year in Pyeongchang.

"Obviously it feels great having the confidence going into (the world championships), and then it will make me work extra hard in the summer because I know everyone is going to be gunning for me going into next season," Thompson said. "So I'm going to have to be on top of my game."

Naeslund crossed 0.08 behind Thompson in second, while Switzerland's Fanny Smith placed third. Brittany Phelan of Mont-Tremblant, Que., whose previous best was sixth, finished fourth.

It was the second golden sweep for Thompson and Leman in as many months -- the pair took top spot last month in Sweden.

Leman, a 30-year-old from Calgary, was quick out of the gate and never trailed in any of Sunday's four rounds of the event that sees four skiers race head-to-head down the icy run of treacherous turns and jumps. In elimination style, two skiers move on until only a final four remain.

"It's not often that you can win a ski cross like that (skiing from the front), because everyone is so good," Leman said. "It's a cool feeling to be able to get out front and hold everyone off all day and just stick to the plan and execute.

"I just was able to find a little extra speed at the top of the hill today and carry that all the way down the course. . . I just kind of tried the brain off today and just ski and race and have confidence that that was going to be good enough and it was. …

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