Canadian Brady Leman says he won’t be satisfied with anything less than first place in his next skicross race.
The Calgary native continues to shine on the World Cup circuit after winning his second silver medal in as many races Wednesday. But after two close losses, Leman wants his turn on top of the podium.
“I’m always happy to be on the podium for sure — I’m proud of what I did today — but that said, I want to win, I’m not out there to come second,” he said after Wednesday’s result.
Leman was edged by Armin Niederer of Switzerland, who won the race in Val Thorens. Niederer also leads Leman in the overall World Cup standings.
Dave Duncan of London, Ont., finished fourth, after both Canadian skiers had trouble out of the gate.
“Both Dunc and I kind of messed up out of the gate. I hooked my ski on something, I don’t know what happened really,” said Leman.
It left him third at the start but he passed American Joe Swensson and had a chance to pass Niederer.
“He must have sensed it and did a nice little swerve to keep me behind him.”
Duncan couldn’t get past Swensson to get into third.
“I had two amazing starts and two not so amazing starts,” he said of the crowded day, which crammed in training, qualifiers and final after weather issues the previous two days.
“In the final I just missed my pole out of the gate, the initial pole, and those three guys took off on me and I couldn’t make a pass on Joe Swensson to get into third.”
Coach Eric Archer says both skiers are performing well.
“They’re experienced, they know what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s only a matter of time until we’re standing on the top of the podium with either one of those guys.”
Louis-Pierre Helie, of Berthierville, Que., finished 18th overall, Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta., 23rd and Mathieu Leduc, of Comox, B.C., failed to qualify and finished 45th.
Reigning world champion Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., finished 15th after being eliminated in the quarter-final round and was the top Canadian on the women’s side.
Calgary’s Danielle Sundquist missed qualifying by one spot, finishing 17th. Marielle Thompson, of Whistler, B.C., last year’s Crystal Globe winner as World Cup champion, was 23rd and Mariannick Therer, of Saint-Sauveur, Que., was 27th.
Archer suggests Thompson has to push a little harder if she wants to repeat her breakout year.
“She needs to be more aggressive,” he said.
“Every year we come back and the women’s and the men’s field is getting tougher and tougher. If you’re not pushing full gas it’s just not going to happen.”
Meanwhile, Archer said a knee injury suffered last week by men’s team member Ian Deans of Kelowna is more serious that originally thought and will require surgery to repair damage to his meniscus and anterior cruciate ligament.
“He’s young and we’ll keep him on the list and get him back and get him ready for next year.”
The Canadian team was rocked by the death of Nik Zoricic of head injuries sustained in a crash during a World Cup race in Grindelwald, Switzerland last March at the age of 29.
It prompted calls to improve safety and Archer suggests things are improving.
“We were way up in the alpine and there were no trees anywhere,” he said of the French course. “Spill zones were immense.”
He says communication seems more open between athletes and officials.
“I think were moving in a positive direction in that respect.”
The team’s new uniforms pay tribute to Zoricic, and Archer says his loss is still felt.
“It’s hard to get going again and I’m surprised that we’re seeing the results this quickly,” he said.