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The Canadian women's alpine ski team is no longer a one-woman show, but Mélanie Turgeon indisputably remains its starring act.

Turgeon, 24, of Beauport, Que., wrote herself into Canadian ski history on Saturday when she became the first Canadian to stand on the World Cup podium twice in the same day. She placed second in the super giant slalom and third in the downhill at Haus im Ennstal, Austria.

This week, she rides the crest of that success to her favourite World Cup course at Cortina, Italy, pulling an ever-expanding women's team along toward the Salt Lake Olympics.

It's a growth spurt that Alpine Canada's athletic director, Joze Sparovec, has long hoped for, since watching Turgeon emerge as the world's top junior.

With Turgeon's leadership, the team has picked up more and more quota spots in World Cup fields. Canada had seven female skiers on the Austrian hills.

"Before the season, I was afraid we were behind schedule, one year away from the Olympics," Sparovec said. "Taking Mélanie and Allison Forsythe out of the equation, we didn't know if we'd get our young skiers enough World Cup experience before the Games. We were struggling with quota spots and how many girls we could get into races."

But Turgeon and Emily Brydon, 20, of Fernie, B.C., have had World Cup podium finishes, and Forsythe, 22, of Nanaimo, B.C., and Britt Janyk, 20, of Whistler, B.C., have had finishes in the top 10. Last weekend, two others were at Haus: Anne-Marie Lefrançois, 23, of Charlesbourg, Que., and Sara-Maude Boucher, 21, of Saint-Denis-de-Brompton, Que. Meanwhile, at Flachau, Austria, Anna Prchal of Outremont, Que., was picking up points in a World Cup slalom race.

The Canadian alpine contingent now has a real esprit de corps, something that's important to both Sparovec and Turgeon. When Turgeon came out of the junior ranks as a champion, she was on her own, talented but immature. At the same time, she was burdened with the entire program's expectations, sponsor obligations and media demands.

"When Mélanie came up, she was a bit mismanaged," Sparovec said in a telephone interview. "Everything came a little too soon and too fast, and the focus was lost with so many appearances and the media attention.

"I'm a big fan of the bigger teams. When there's more of a team environment, strong individuals emerge."

Brydon's emergence as a world-class contender in the speed events has kindled a productive atmosphere, Turgeon said.

"Now we actually have a team," said Turgeon, who has moved to seventh place in the downhill and sixth in the super-G in this season's World Cup ranking. "We work together, and it's important for me that Emily is there because she is pushing me and I'm pushing her. It's good for me.

"I didn't know how I would react to having one of my teammates push me this hard. But the more girls we have, then the better chances we have to beat the rest of the world."

Turgeon's two World Cup medals in one day was unprecedented for a Canadian skier. Brydon backed up Turgeon's results with two top-10 placings, further evidence that the Canadian women's team is poised for a major breakthrough to the top ranks. Brydon hit the podium for the first time this season, a third at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Sparovec says it's good for Turgeon to have Brydon and Forsythe at her heels. "Her biggest quality is that she's been highly competitive since she was little. Now, with younger athletes coming into competition, the youngsters have Mélanie's benchmarks to follow. The team's getting bigger and stronger, but Mélanie won't let them pass her."

At Haus, Turgeon was separated from victory by very tiny margins. Austrian World Cup champion Renate Goetschl collected her second downhill win of the season by only .08 seconds. Brydon was sixth.

In the super-G race, Regine Cavagnoud of France edged Turgeon by 0.27 seconds for her second consecutive victory in the discipline. Brydon finished eighth. She has moved into the top 10 in both the downhill and super-G overall season standings.

"It was the kind of conditions that I like: fast, demanding and hard," Turgeon said. "My confidence is very high now."