ST. MORITZ, Switzerland — Overcast skies couldn’t put a damper on our neighbors to the North as Canada turned in two amazing performances from veterans Erik Guay and Manuel Osborne-Paradis. The duo took first and third, respectively, in the 2017 World Championship super-G in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Wednesday. Guay’s winning time of 1:25.38 bested Norwegian Kjetil Jansrud by 0.45 seconds and was 0.51 seconds better than Osborne-Paradis.
High cloud cover cast the mountain in dark shadows all day, and it was apparent during inspection that the fast set and blind terrain combined with the flat light would require a delicate combination of skill and bravery in order to walk away with a medal. Jansrud looked to have laid down the gauntlet with bib nine, but Guay managed to build his lead at each interval before nailing a tricky low-speed left-foot, right-foot, left-foot combination entering the final turns to seal the win with bib 14. Inspired by his teammate’s performance, Osborne-Paradis charged from bib 26 to take third.
Wednesday’s result gave Canada its first multiple podium finish since 1982 when Gerry Sorensen finished first and Laurie Graham third in the women’s downhill in Grindelwald, Switzerland.
After walking away from a terrifying crash two weeks ago in Garmisch, Germany, Guay was happy to just be healthy and competing in St. Moritz. Wednesday’s win is Guay’s second career World Championship title, as the Canadian Cowboy also won the 2011 downhill gold in Garmisch, Germany. Guay is also now the oldest World Champion ever at 35 years old.
“Before I saw the green light, I crossed the line and I saw the crowd react,” Guay said. “I saw everybody stand up and cheer, so I knew that something good just happened. When I sort of turned sideways and saw the green light by 45-hundredths in front of Jansrud it was incredible ‘cause he’s such an incredible skier and dominating super-G, so I was quite emotional actually. I’m glad I had goggles on so nobody could see my eyes.”
Although Jansrud has been the man to beat this season in super-G, the Attacking Viking was pleased to walk away with a silver medal, especially since he has been battling a bit of sickness since the beginning of the week.
“I always want to aim for the gold, but I think Erik today showed us how it’s supposed to be done, and it’s very impressive,” a gracious Jansrud said. “I’m not feeling any disappointment over that. I’m very happy with the silver. Been struggling a little bit with the preparation coming into the World Champs with a little sickness and you know, for me, it’s a perfect day and I’m looking forward for downhill.”
Osborne-Paradis admitted that his performance might not have been possible if not for the emotional boost he got from watching his teammate go into the lead. The cherry on top, however, was this result came on his 33rd birthday and was his first super-G podium since winning in Lake Louise in 2009.
“I figured with a later number that I would have to have a good one,” he explained. “I was skiing really well. Skiing my line. Had one little mistake in the middle, and mistakes happen when you’re givin’ ‘er, so whatever. What can you do? It just all worked out. It feels so good. I mean I feel bad that we’re doing interviews and I haven’t seen my serviceman, I haven’t seen my coaches. I think it’s my serviceman’s first podium ever, World Cup or World Champs or anything, so I’m super excited for him. It’s just so good to share it with Erik. For him to be the winner, I mean, I think I was able to get third today because he won. I was so jazzed in the start. I had so much more energy. It was pretty cool.”
It was a frustrating start for the Americans as Travis Ganong led the pack with a 14th-place finish followed by Ryan Cochran-Siegle in 28th. Andrew Weibrecht missed a gate and Tommy Biesemeyer looked to be on pace for a possible top-five finish before ending up on his hip, dislocating his shoulder in the process.
“It was a really tricky super-G just because it was so straight, no rhythm at all,” Ganong said of his race. “We knew the speeds were going to be fast, but not that fast. The jumps were bigger than in the downhill which made it really difficult, especially for me going early. I was expecting to land off the jumps and have time to roll into the next turn and it was more like switching in the air and landing on edge. When you go early, you don’t really know that yet. I was happy with my skiing for the most part, I just missed the timing.”
Olivier Jenot of Monaco suffered a violent crash off of one of the jumps after getting twisted in the air and landing hard on his back. The Monacan was airlifted off of the hill and his condition is currently unknown. We will update this story once we have more details on the extent of his injuries.
The men now have downhill training on Thursday before the downhill race on Saturday, Feb. 11.
View photo gallery from today’s race here.
- Erik Guay (CAN) – Head/Head/Head
- Kjetil Jansrud (NOR) – Head/Head/Head
- Manuel Osborne-Paradis (CAN) – Head/Head/Head
- Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (NOR) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Vincent Kreichmayr (AUT) – Fischer/Fischer/Fischer
- Alexis Pinturault (FRA) – Head/Head/Head
- Andreas Sander (GER) – Atomic/Atomic/Atomic
- Carlo Janka (SUI) – Rossignol/Rossignol/Look
- Dominik Pairs (ITA) – Nordica/Nordica/Marker
- Hannes Reichelt (AUT) – Salomon/Salomon/Salomon
|Rank||Bib||FIS Code||Name||Year||Nation||Total Time||Diff.|
|4||13||422139||KILDE Aleksander Aamodt||1992||NOR||1:25.92||+0.54|
|29||46||110324||VON APPEN Henrik||1994||CHI||1:28.87||+3.49|
|Did not finish 1st run|
|59||110383||VON APPEN Sven||1997||CHI|