Victoria Whitney (Whistler, Team Canada) Whistler Cup 2003
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Saturday's roster consisted of a one-run Giant Slalom for the K1's (11-12 years) and a 2-run Slalom race for the K2 athletes (13-14 years). The K1's and K2's were racing simultaneously on two different areas of the mountain.

Norway, Austria, and Italy were back on the podium Saturday, along with the Americans who captured their first two medals of the Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup.

In K2 women's action, Nina Loseth of Norway was golden with a total time of one minute, 29.82 – more than one second ahead of her teammate and the second-place finisher Kaia Gulsvik. Anna Fenninger of Austria finished third in 1:31.94.

“The course was okay, but difficult because of the snow,” said Loseth, who won the slalom at Trofeo Topolino this year – the other major international juvenile competition upon which the Whistler Cup was modeled. This is Loseth's second trip to the Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup – last year, she placed second in the slalom.
“It's so big here – it's a great event, couldn't be better.”

Teammate Gulsvik fared well in the slalom even though her best events are the giant slalom and the downhill – both of which she won at her national championships this year. “I was looking to be in the top five, so I'm happy with today, especially my second run,” she said.

Canadians Caroline Brault of Piedmont, Quebec, Kayla Leman of Calgary, Alberta, and Larisa Yurkiw of Owen Sound, Ontario – members of the CIBC Team Canada – all finished in the top-15. Brault was sixth, Leman 13th, and Yurkiw 14th.

On the K2 men's side, Bernhard Graf of Austria captured his second gold medal in as many days with a dominating 1.08-second lead on the second-place slalom finisher Kamden Burke of the U.S. Another Austrian – Marco Fuchs – captured the bronze in 1:25.96.

“It was a fair course, but the weather was not so good,” said Graf, whose strongest event is normally the giant slalom, in which he'll be competing on Sunday. “I'm feeling great about the two wins at Whistler Cup.”

Fuchs was sixth after the first run, and went on to win the second run and finish on the third podium step. He stood in the finish watching the last of the top-15 racers come down before finally throwing his hands up in the air in victory alongside Graf as they realized two Austrians would stand atop the podium that evening.

“I'm very happy for my team,” said Fuchs of the Austrian results in the first two days of competition. “It's a good event, with pretty good competition.”

The top Canadian K2 athlete for the men was Philippe Crete-Belzile of Pont-Rouge, Quebec, who finished sixth, just ahead of his teammate Simon Mannella of Piedmont, Quebec.

Due to the efforts of course workers throughout the competition, conditions remained consistent enough to allow a number racers to came from the back and succeed in cracking the top-15. These included Canada's James McLean who finished 14th after starting 45th, and Americans Travis Ganong who was 8th (started 42nd), Tyler Luthringer who was 9th (starting 36th), and Taggart Spenst who finished 12th despite his 56th-place start.

In K1 Women's single-run Giant Slalom action, the battle for gold was won by Italy's Giulia Siccardi.

“My goals were to ski fast and have fun,” said Siccardi, who cleaned up at her national championships by placing first in the slalom, giant slalom, and combined, and fourth in the Super G. “The course was nice, but I thought I could have skied better.”

Thea Gosvold of Norway was second, in 46.88, while fellow Italian Elena Curtoni captured bronze in 47.54.

“I was looking for a top-5 finish, so I'm happy with today's result,” said Gosvold, who got her arm caught in a gate on the flats, costing her time. Gosvold was first in the giant slalom and the slalom at Topolino, showing she has promise for another strong result in Sunday's K1 slalom. “It's a very fun event.”

Four Canadians were in the top-15, including Erin Mielzynski (11th), Alex Birdgeneau (13th), Nicole Poleschuk (14th), and Whistler's own Victoria Whitney (15th).

“It's a nice course, it was straight and flat. said Whitney. “I like that kind of course better than last year's which was turnier. It was nice and smooth. I was excited and a tiny bit nervous before the race, but what I do is I try to look at every race as if it was a training run. My goal was to be in the top-15 this week.”

On the K1 men's side, Colby Granstrom of the U.S. captured the first gold medal of the series for the Americans in a time of 48.38.

“I kind of expected to win a medal today,” said 12-year-old Granstrom after he agonizingly watched the other racers come down after him, as he started first. “I thought the course was pretty good – not too fast, not too slow. Starting first made me a little nervous but I was glad to have that position. The secret (to winning) is just to train hard.”

Granstrom's training paid off, as he was able to beat Italy's Jacopo Di Ronco, and Knut Masdal of Norway, who finished second and third respectively.

The top Canadian in the men's K1 GS was Richard Love of Ontario, who put down an almost unbelievable 12th place finish after starting at the very back in 82nd spot. Love was followed by Sasha Zaitsoff of Team BC who ended the day in 15th.

American Jace Wirth of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, accomplished his goal by qualifying to compete at the Whistler Cup – something he decided he wanted to do last summer, when he tacked a note to his bed reading simply “Whistler 2003.” As his father Andy watched on at the finish, Wirth raced down to a 17th-place finish.

The K1 athletes are set to compete in the slalom on Sunday, while the K2 racers will compete in the giant slalom – the final four events of the Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup.

All races can be followed online via live timing by visiting the Alpine Canada Alpin Web site at www.canski.org and clicking on the STAT Timing link, or by visiting www.whistlercup.com and looking under “results.”

Women's slalom (K2)
Top 15: 1. (15) Nina Loseth, Norway, 1:29.82; 2. (20) Kaia Gulsvik, Norway, 1:31.03; 3. (11) Anna Fenninger, Austria, 1:31.94; 4. (14) Camilla Borsotti, Italy, 1:32.83; 5. (16) Michela Basso, Italy, 1:32.83; 6. (25) Caroline Brault, Piedmont, Que., 1:33.48; 7. (22) Kristina Liegl, Austria, 1:33.84; 8. (8) Corrine Rotter, USA, 1:34.50; 9. (23) Julia Wong, USA, 1:34.64; 10. (30) Anne Cecilie Brusletto, Norway, 1:35.93; 11. (4) Kristina Palovicova, Slovakia, 1:36.34; 12. (37) Kerri Dutcher, USA, 1:36.72; 13. (6) Kayla Leman, Calgary, Alta., 1:37.25; 14. (26) Larisa Yurkiw, Owen Sound, Ont., 1:37.32; 15. (51) Shelly Bowen, USA, 1:37.78.

Men's slalom (K2)
Top 15: 1. (24) Bernhard Graf, Austria, 1:24.56; 2. (9) Kamden Burke, USA, 1:25.63; 3. (18) Marco Fuchs, Austria, 1:25.96; 4. (11) Hagen Patscheider, Italy, 1:26.07; 5. (19) Espen Theodorsen, Norway, 1:27.15; 6. (31) Philippe Crete-Belzile, Pont-Rouge, Que., 1:27.74; 7. (12) Simon Mannella, Piedmont, Que., 1:27.94; 8. (42) Travis Ganong, USA, 1:27.97; 9. (36) Tyler Luthringer, USA, 1:28.26; 10. (54) Eric Davis, USA, 1:28.52; 11. (27) Ace Tarberry, USA, 1:28.67; 12. (56) Taggart Spenst, USA, 1:28.72; 13. (25) John Reidar Steen, Norway, 1:29.79; 14. (45) James McLean, Canada, 1:33.52; 15. (Matthias Feichtner, Austria, 1:34.35.

Women's giant slalom – one run (K1)
Top 15: 1. (13) Giulia Siccardi, Italy, 46.43; 2. (3) Thea Gosvold, Norway, 46.88; 3. (1) Elena Curtoni, Italy, 47.54; 5. (2) Julia Ford, USA, 48.40; 6. (5) Sfija Novoselic, Croatia, 48.54; 7. (25) Alannah Rice, USA, 48.77; 8. (12) Madison Shepard, USA, 49.46; 9. (4) Andrea Jardi, Spain, 49.47; 10. (14) Lana Kostic, Croatia, 49.71; 11. (19) Erin Mielzynski, Canada, 50.16; 12. (11) Tea Palic, Croatia, 50.24; 13. (69) Alexa Birdgeneau, Canada, 50.25; 14. (31) Nicole Poleschuk, Fernie, B.C., 50.37; 15. Victoria Whitney, Whistler, B.C., 50.58.

Men's giant slalom
1. (1) Colby Granstrom, USA, 48.38; 2. (9) Jacopo Di Ronco, Italy, 48.55; 3. (2) Knut Masdal, Norway, 48.71; 4. (20) Stefano Barattero, Italy, 48.89; 5. (12) Max Ehrl, Germany, 48.91; 6. 16) Espen Lysdahl, Norway, 48.99; 7. (23) Emil Kristiansen, Norway, 49.05; 8. (3) Peter Bendik, Slovakia, 49.99; 9. (10) Hyeon-Tae Kim, Korea, 50.03; 10. (4) Adria Manzano, Andora, 50.32; 11. (22) Michael Ankeny, USA, 50.80; 12. (82) Richard Love, Canada, 51.15; 13. (37) Daniel Halligan, USA, 51.19; 14. (36) Wil Prim, USA, 51.31; 15. (35) Sasha Zaitsoff, Canada, 51.38.