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Trevor Philp of Canada is congratulated by teammates Erin Mielzynski , Phil Brown and Candace Crawford after defeating Italy in the Nations Team Event

Jerry Lai/USA Today Sports

Erin Mielzynski led three young skiers with little experience to a silver medal Tuesday amid the world's elite at the alpine skiing world championships.

The underdogs narrowly lost the gold to defending world champions Austria, edged by just .10 seconds.

The event, only in place since 2005, is a parallel slalom competition and the only world championship alpine discipline in which skiers race as a team and not as individuals.

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The four skiers chosen from a squad of six – Mielzynski, Candace Crawford, Phil Brown and Tervor Philp – were among the last remaining uninjured Canadians. They appeared determined to prove that compatriot Dustin Cook's silver medal in men's Super-G last Thursday was not going to be the only surprise of these championships.

"We fought really hard as a team and came so close to the gold. But we're really happy to be able to stand on the podium as a team," Crawford said. "We're all proud. It's a great day."

Mielzynski, a slalom specialist from Brampton, Ont., is the team captain and most established athlete of the quartet. She skied first out of the gate in every round of the competition and remained unbeaten throughout.

Rising stars on the giant slalom World Cup, Brown and Philp matured as the competition unfolded, scalping skiers with world rankings half their own. The 20-year-old Crawford, the youngest and most inexperienced of the four, put down stunning runs.

The team dispatched Germany in the opening round, and then Italy in the quarter-finals.

Marcel Hirscher helped top-seeded Austria hold off Canada for the gold medal. Sweden earned the bronze medal by beating Switzerland.

The International Ski Federation is trying to get the discipline included as a medal event in the Olympics.

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