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TORINO: ALPINE: ERIK GUAY OF CANADA TO MISS OLYMPIC DOWNHILL

TORINO: ALPINE: ERIK GUAY OF CANADA TO MISS OLYMPIC DOWNHILLCanada’s top speed-event hope, Erik Guay, will miss the Olympic men’s downhill on Sunday because of a lower leg injury. He hopes to race in the super G.

‘I’m really disappointed’ Guay said in a conference call Wednesday afternoon. ‘You train for so long and you train just for that, and to not be able to compete is really frustrating.’

Guay bruised his calf in a crash during giant slalom training Jan. 23 at Turrach, Austria. He hasn’t raced since his spectacular fifth-place finish in the Hahnenkamm downill on Jan. 21 (it was his first time racing there).

The injury is being diagnosed as a soft-tissue injury. He has been on day-to-day status, with rehabilitation. ‘Hopefully the condition will improve in the future’ said Canada’s team doctor, Jim Demarco.

The 24-year-old speedster got on snow Wednesday morning with a Canadian coach and physio, and knew right away that he was in trouble. ‘There’s no way I could make it’ he said. ‘I would have to ski on one leg.’

‘I was skiing at 40 or 50 percent in GS and it was too much pain’ said Guay. ‘So in downhill, where there is a lot more torque, a lot more speed, a lot more vibration, there would be no way.’

Guay said it was especially frustrating that he can walk around fine, but can’t put pressure on the leg when he skis.

Max Gartner, Canada’s chief athletic officer, said the team hoped to keep Guay as an option for the super G. ‘We will do further rehab and keep him optional, and next week, we’ll try for super G.’

Guay was third in the Val Gardena downhill in December. He has finished second in two different super G races this season – Beaver Creek and Val Gardena.

Despite the Canadians’ long and illustrious history of downhill racing, no Canadian man has ever won an Olympic downhill.

Guay, who has superior gliding skills but has proven himself as a technician this year too, was a top contender.

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