Ontario’s Richard Long leads the way, easily winning historic Super G race for Canada
BC’s Tyler MacKenzie wears bib #36 and puts down a bronze medal performance!
Before the races got underway, there was a quiet, stillness in the air as the athletes calmed their first-day jitters and focused on the task at hand. Conditions were idea to start the day – mild temperatures (volunteers were happy), little to no wind and a slightly overcast sky. Forerunners from the national team thrilled the young Canadians in the competition – thanks Britt Janyk, Shona Rubens and Kelly Vanderbeek!
Spectators at the finish of the super G were entertained by up-beat tunes and Italian announcer Stefano Ceiner, who added to the international flavour of the event with his animated oh-hill commentary in four languages (English, French, Italian and German).
Richard Long (Collingwood, ON) had not even caught his breath before the crowds were flocked around him at the end of his run. He was just the second racer out of the start gate, but it was as if he had already done what he came here to do… win the race. His rock-star status didn’t faze him as he politely conducted about half a dozen interviews while pulling off his bib and making his way to the timing board to see his result.
Long led an unprecedented Canadian sweep in the Boys K2 Super G as the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup, a three-day international competition for some of the world’s best ski racers between the ages of 11 to 14, got underway in Whistler BC.
Long, who actually just turned 15 years old last month, dominated Friday’s Super G race, finishing in a time of one minute and 08.03 seconds and winning by nearly two seconds over the nearest competitor. Canadian Andrew Solomon (Toronto, ON) was second in 1:09.80 and Tyler Mackenzie (Kamloops, BC) was third in a time of 1:09.81. Canada’s Julian Sheiner (Mont-Ste-Marie, QC) also grabbed fourth place.
“I had fun, it’s always fun. The best in the world are here, so the level of competition is high. It’s always good to get a benchmark and see where you are compared to the rest of the kids your age in the world,” said Long.
“I had a good run but it was a little sketchy at the bottom. The track is really fast in sections and pretty ‘turny’ in others,” Long said. “You really needed to do a good inspection because you had to know where the blind gates were. If you didn’t see it coming, you could be in trouble.”
“My goal today was to win, although I’m usually a little stronger in Slalom and GS,” Long added.
“That was rougher than I anticipated. The coaches had us all pumped up for a smooth track so that was bumpier than I thought it would be,” said Solomon of his silver medal performance.
“Richard (Long) and I are teammates and we’re always pushing each other,” added Solomon. “Three Canadians on the podium – How cool is that?”
The Canadian podium sweep, which had never happened before in the history of the Whistler Cup, highlighted a very strong opening day for Canada at the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup. Canada earned a total of four podium finishes and one fourth place result in the day’s four races.
Boys and Girls Super G races were held for the K2’s — the 13 and 14-year-old’s — while the K1’s — the 11 and 12-year-old’s — battled it out in Boys and Girls Kombi races.
The Women’s K2 Super G was won by Austrian Mirjam Puchner in a time of 1:09.35. Barbora Pyrochtova of the Czech Republic was second followed by Canadian Camille Gilbert (Val St-Come, QC) in third.
“I had a really bad Whistler Cup last year – I basically fell in every race. It wasn’t ‘me’ skiing. This year I wanted it to be different,” said Gilbert.
“Sometimes I take on too much pressure and don’t ski for myself. My coach told me to race for myself here today – I’m enjoying it but I’m not too serious. I have nothing to prove here – I’m not trying to qualify for anything – I’m more relaxed and having fun,” she added.
The Women’s K1 Kombi event, which combines elements of a Slalom race with a Skills event, was won by Slovenian Nina Znidar in 49.31 followed by Mardene Haskell of the USA and Poland’s Daniel Maryna Gasienica.
The top Canadian was Kailee Darlington (Whistler, BC) in fourth.
“My result is pretty good especially because I really didn’t think my run went all that good, I had to recover a fair bit and that slowed me down,” said Darlington. “This is a really great hill to race Kombi and Slalom on. The course was really well set it was a lot of fun.”
The Boys K1 Kombi event was won by Michele Gualazzi of Italy in a time of 49.53. Oskari Vahapassi of Finland was second with American Michael Boardman in third.
Broderick Thompson (Whistler, BC) was the top Canadian, finishing seventh.
“Today wasn’t bad. I could have been faster in the middle and that cost me,” said Thompson. “I crashed last year though and came here with a goal of being in the Top 20 so I’m happy about were I finished.”
The 15th edition of the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup, with over 20 countries represented, is one of only two major international ski races for athletes between the ages of 11 to 14 in the world. Some of the countries attending this year’s competition include Canada, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, USA, Australia, Slovakia, Chile, Netherlands, Denmark, and Japan as well as new participants Greece and Finland.
Sierra Wireless is now in its seventh year as title sponsor of the Whistler Cup, which is organized by the Whistler Mountain Ski Club and hosted by Whistler-Blackcomb.
The schedule for Saturday includes a Slalom race for the K2’s and a Giant Slalom for the K1’s.
LIVE TIMING: Live timing of the Whistler Cup as well as unofficial complete results are available via the Alpine Canada Alpin website: http://canski.live-timing.org/
COMPLETE RESULTS (available the day after each race):