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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Canadian cowboys' lead Olys ski team

Posted: 01/9/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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TORONTO -- Canadian skier Manuel Osborne-Paradis learned how it felt to compete on the sport's biggest stage during his Olympic debut in Turin eight years ago.

He learned about pressure and expectations at the 2010 Games in his hometown of Vancouver.

His next mission is to build on that experience at his next Olympic appearance in Sochi, where he plans to ride the momentum from the team's strong start to the season.

"In Vancouver there was a lot of prep but not very directed prep," he said Wednesday. "I think this year we've really fixed all the bugs and the kinks that we felt in Vancouver. Obviously there's not as much pressure, not being in Canada and being as far away (from) Canada as pretty much possible.

"I think the nerves are a lot more settled and hopefully we're able to direct the energy down the hill and not towards the media."

The veteran skier will anchor the men's alpine team at the Games along with Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., and Calgary's Jan Hudec. The three "Canadian Cowboys" were officially nominated to the Sochi 2014 Olympic team Wednesday.

Some of their teammates still have a chance to join them in Sochi. The qualification window is open until Jan. 26 and the roster is expected to be finalized the next day.

Guay had the top Canadian result at the Vancouver Games, finishing fifth in the downhill and the super-G. Osborne-Paradis was 17th in the downhill and didn't finish the super-G while Hudec didn't crack the top 20 in either discipline.

"We've learned from it and obviously you figure out how you felt there and how you're going to feel in Sochi," Osborne-Paradis said. "You try to make a plan around that. But I can't foresee the pressure being at that peak as it was in Vancouver before the downhill."

The trio recorded some impressive results on the World Cup circuit last month. Osborne-Paradis was fourth in the downhill at Beaver Creek, Hudec won silver in Italy and Guay took gold and bronze.

Hudec and Guay were unable to attend Wednesday's news conference at Casa Loma due to travel issues, so Osborne-Paradis was the lone skier to be presented with his Olympic jacket. Jeffrey Frisch of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was also on hand along with national teammates Morgan and Conrad Pridy of Whistler, B.C.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 9, 2014 D6

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