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The Sport Information Resource Centre

It was an emotional day for Alana Ramsay (Calgary, AB) on Sunday as she left everything on The Rock and skied to defend her 2018 Paralympic super-G bronze medal reclaiming the title in Beijing.  

“It means the world to me,” she said in the finish. “This is my first podium since my crash, and to repeat what I did four years ago means the world.”  

As racers learned in this week’s training and yesterday’s downhill event, this course is technically challenging, with icy artificial snow amplifying the steep pitches and curves that add to the compressions. Ramsay was 7th in Saturday’s downhill competition. “I charged it today and I left my soul on the hill today,” she says.  

Ramsay became the first multi-medal Paralympian at these Games, after first winning bronze in the super-G race. 

Teammate Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) joined her on the third step, claiming his first Paralympic medal in a speed event with the bronze. After finishing 4th in the Super G in 2018, Alexis had his sights set on podium performances at these Games, committing himself to doing all that it takes to earn a medal in this event, one of his favourites that combines high speeds and technical turns. 

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In exciting mixed team action on Monday, the Canadians broke out the shorter boards for a heated parallel head-to-head. 

Cassidy Gray (Invermere, B.C.), Etienne Mazellier (Quebec City, QC), Justine Lamontagne (Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC), and Raphaël Lessard (Granby, QC) racked up the wins through the ladder, beating teams Germany, Italy, the United States and finally Austria in the final to claim the first podium step.  

“It was awesome,” says head coach Francis Royal. “We’re in front of the home crowd, I lost my voice, and we’re so proud of our entire team, it’s just fantastic.” 

“To feel that Canadian energy, it was insane,” adds Gray. 

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In only his third start of the World Cup season after sitting out several races rehabilitating an injury, Cam Alexander (North Vancouver, B.C.) silenced any doubts, landing on the podium in a tie for first place with Niels Hintermann (SUI) in Friday’s downhill event, after starting with bib 39. Both men laid down a blistering time of 1:44.42 with Matthias Mayer (AUT) rounding out the top three in bronze only 0.12 off the pace. 

The team built on this historic win the following day, putting four skiers in the top 17 in Saturday’s race. Jeffrey Read from Canmore, AB, led the maple leaf pack with a career best 7th place result. 

Kicking out of the start gate wearing bib 42, Read attacked from the back, skiing a clean run from top to bottom, and crossing the finish line 1.39 off Italy’s Dominik Paris’ winning time of 1:43.92. 

Finally, Canadian men wrapped up a dream weekend, with Jack Crawford from Toronto, ON skiing into second place in Sunday’s final World Cup super G race of the season. This is Crawford’s first-ever World Cup podium. 

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Marie-Michèle Gagnon has been a part of the Canadian Ski Team since she was 18 years old, and in recent years has become one of the team leaders.

“Mitch,” as many know her, has stood on the podium five times on the FIS World Cup tour, with a pair of Alpine Combined gold medals highlighting her career.

A multi-disciplined racer, Gagnon began focusing on speed events in 2017 but fell to injury in Lake Louise, Alberta. When she returned, she didn’t miss a beat. Outside of skiing, the Lac-Etchemin, QC, native, is an outdoor junkie, who splits her time between mountain biking, ski touring, paddle boarding, kitesurfing, hiking, and other outdoor activities.  

That combination of her experience, expertise, and passion is why we asked for her best advice on training your way to better skiing. 

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Katie Combaluzier has been living a new life. 

The dynamics of the past are now quite a bit different. 

A life-long skier, brilliant on the slopes and thirsty for success, Combaluzier knows all about misfortunes. Visions of what happened previously, and aspirations going forward, have repeatedly raced through scenarios in her mind. 

For Combaluzier, overcoming the unthinkable and yet very much open-minded about addressing a new way forward, is part of a personal modus operandi leading to what has been a boom in prosperity. 

To many, life is a contact sport. Combaluzier is one of those skilled and proficient athletes and is well aware of both, as well as being eager to challenge. She’s motivated by high performance and a love of the sport. 

Back in March of 2018, Combaluzier was skiing with a friend on Mount Chamechaude, one of the highest mountains in eastern France and just north of Grenoble, when something went terribly wrong. Her worst nightmare happened. 

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