Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Jan Hudec didn’t want to leave home without securing their spots on Canada’s Olympic team.
The two men bounced back from disappointing downhill races at the Lake Louise World Cup to finish in the top 12 in Sunday’s super-G.
Calgary’s Hudec was 10th and Vancouver’s Osborne-Paradis finished 12th, which met the criteria to be nominated to the 2014 Olympic team.
“We were both talking about how frustrated we were so I’m glad I got that out of the way now,” Hudec says. “It takes the pressure off. The longer you leave it, the more pressure you put on yourself on tougher courses.”
They followed Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., in meeting the Olympic team standard in Lake Louise. Guay was eighth in Saturday’s downhill to qualify for his third Winter Games. The 2014 Winter Olympics are in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway won the super-G at Lake Louise for the third straight year. He’s won six World Cup races at the Alberta resort during his career.
His fifth super-G win broke the record of four previously held by Austrian legend Hermann Maier. Svindal’s lone downhill victory was last year.
“Lake Louise has been good to me,” Svindal said. “I won my first World Cup ever here in 2005 and it’s the one destination where I have the most wins. The super-G just seems to suit me well.
“The snow in North America, especially here, and the snow in Scandinavia is more similar than from Scandinavia to Central Europe. I think that has something do to with it. Norwegians tend to do well in North America.”
Austrians were second and third with Matthias Mayer .24 seconds back of Svindal and Georg Streitberger .38 seconds behind.
The men head to Beaver Creek, Colo., and the second stop on the World Cup circuit this 2013-14 season. They trade places with the women, who are travelling from Beaver Creek to Lake Louise this week for downhill races Friday and Saturday and a super-G on Sunday.
U.S. ski star Lindsey Vonn has won a record 14 times at Lake Louise and swept all three races the last two years. But the 29-year-old crashed in training last week and partially tore a reconstructed ligament in her right knee.
Vonn free skied, but didn’t participate in the women’s races at Beaver Creek on the weekend. She told The Associated Press she wants to race in Lake Louise.
The first of three women’s training runs scheduled for Tuesday has been called off because the women were delayed travelling from Colorado to Alberta.
In addition to medals and prize money, medallists at Lake Louise were given white cowboy hats to wear for podium pictures and to take home.
“It’s pretty hard to walk around in Europe and think you’re a cowboy,” Svindal said. “It’s one of those things where you wear them here and think it’s really cool and you get off the plane in Germany and it’s not that sweet anymore unless you are a real cowboy.”
Total prize money at the World Cup was 100,000 Swiss francs ($117,000 Cdn) with 30,000 going to the downhill and super-G winners.
The Canadian team departs without a medal at their home race. Osborne-Paradis was the last Canadian man to stand on the podium at Lake Louise when he won the super-G in 2009.
“When you look at the results on paper, it’s not quite where we wanted to be, but for the most part the three guys, Erik, Manny and Jan have good speed and they’re going to be building through the season,” said Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sports.
“It’s good to see Erik up to speed so quickly. We didn’t actually expect that.”
Guay tied for 18th in the super-G. Knee surgery in July kept the 2011 world downhill champion off snow until November. The 32-year-old said Lake Louise gave him positive feedback on his progress.
“It was to see how the knee reacted, how the back reacted, how the skiing is in race situations,” Guay said. “There’s good things that came out of this weekend and I have to build off of that.”
Hudec and Osborne-Paradis were 22nd and 28th respectively in Saturday’s downhill. Hudec rapped his knuckles on the side of his helmet after crossing the super-G finish line Sunday.
“That was the old fashioned ‘I’m an idiot,“’ Hudec explained. “Even though I’m not on the podium today, I knew I could have been.
“Even though I’m not quite in there, I’m happy because I was skiing towards a podium finish. I just made a huge mistake. The reason I was hitting my head is I didn’t trust myself for a split second to take a tighter line than what I expected. I ended up out in the weeds as they say.”
Osborne-Paradis was at a disadvantage with a No. 45 start bib. Courses generally get beaten and chopped up by the first 30 racers down the hill. So finishing 12th was the performance of the day for Canada, according to Kristofic.
“That’s great. I needed it,” Osborne-Paradis said. “I was really bummed yesterday. I’m super-pumped with today. It’s good to walk away from here with that Olympic spot.”
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