Alex Loutitt Soars to Back-to-Back Bronze Medals at Summer Ski Jumping Grand Prix
Abigail Strate lands shy of the podium in fourth place
COURCHEVEL, Fra.—Chalk up another historic finish for two Canadian women’s ski jumping athletes. Alex Loutitt won back-to-back bronze medals, while Abigail Strate landed just shy of the Grand Prix podium on Sunday in Courchevel, France.
Calgary’s Loutitt won the first two Grand Prix medals of her young career in as many days while conquering the challenging large 132-metre hill, and a field of the top women’s ski jumpers on the planet. The 19-year-old matched Saturday’s result with a total of 182.9 points.
“It has been a great start to the new season and a weekend of firsts for me; my first Grand Prix podium, and my first back-to-back podiums,” said Loutitt. “It is a really good confidence boost to start the season with two podium finishes.”
Ski jumping is performed in the summer on an in-run where the tracks are made from porcelain and the grass on the slope is covered with water-soaked plastic.
Loutitt has struggled in year’s past to find comfort on the Courchevel inrun. She overcame that hurdle this weekend with four solid jumps.
The reigning women’s senior and junior world champion was in fifth place after her first leap on Sunday where she flew 116 metres. She grabbed nine additional metres on her second flight to land on the final step of the podium.
“Courchevel has been a difficult hill compared to others so it’s a good hill to practice patience and focus on,” added Loutitt. “I’m pleased to have ended up on the podium both days.”
It was the same women’s podium finishers both days in Courchevel.
Nika Kriznar will leave France unbeaten in the Grand Prix season opener. The Slovenian handily won her second gold with a total of 231.7 points. Japan’s Sara Takanashi was the next best finisher, topping Canada’s Loutitt for the silver medal with 188.3 points.
It was a battle between Canada’s dynamic women’s ski jumping duo on the large hill for the final spot on Sunday’s podium.
Calgary’s Abigail Strate was in second place at the midway point of the competition after an impressive 124.5 metre jump in her first attempt. The 22-year-old took advantage of consistent wind conditions to battle for the medals, but finished just four points shy of her friend and teammate, Loutitt, with 178.8 points for fourth place following a final jump of 118 metres.
“I am surprised with where my jumps measured up against the rest of the field, as I still feel I have lots of room to improve, and there is lots of time left in the summer training period,” said Strate, who was eighth in Saturday’s event. “I made some small technical adjustments with my flight today, and remembered to pull away from the hill.”
Strate, who enjoyed an early-season victory on the Continental Cup and two, fourth-place finishes on the World Cup before winning her first career bronze medal at a World Cup stop in Hinterzarten last winter, leaves Courchevel with mixed feelings to the start of the new season.
“I wasn’t expecting such good results already, as I am still searching for consistency in training,” added Strate. “On the other hand, being so close to the podium, yet not trashing it, is frustrating.”
Strate will have another chance to secure her first summer podium when the second of five summer Grand Prix events takes place in Szczyrk, Poland, August 5-6. Strate and Loutitt will be joined by Canada’s Nicole Mauer in Poland.
Ski Jumping Canada is the governing federation for ski jumping in Canada. It is responsible for the governance of all ski jumping competitions in Canada and for the operation of the national team. For more information, please visit skijumpingcanada.ca.
Chris Dornan, Communications Advisor
Ski Jumping Canada