Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada's Gagnon zooms to fifth in slalom

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LEVI, Finland -- Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon continued her strong start to the season with a fifth-place result in the first World Cup slalom of the year on Saturday, while teammate Elli Terwiel was a career-best 11th.

Gagnon, from Lac-Etchemin, Que., all but secured her spot on Canada's team for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games with a 10th-place finish in last month's giant slalom opener in Austria and the versatile 24-year-old followed that up with two determined, attacking runs Saturday amid strong winds and varying light.

After two races she is sixth in the overall ladies' World Cup rankings.

"I'm stoked -- just super happy that this race brought me fifth place and so, so happy for Elli. She was awesome today," said Gagnon, who had a two-run combined time of one minute 56.80 seconds. "It was a weird race -- it was a bit of a free-for-all.

"I knew I wasn't far out after the first run. I skied just like I do in training -- it was just like a normal run."

Terwiel, from Sun Peaks, B.C., found herself sitting seventh after an incredible first run and although she fell back a little on her second run an 11th-place finish represents her best-ever result in a World Cup race.

Britt Phelan of Mont-Tremblant, Que., Anna Goodman of Pointe Claire, Que., and Erin Mielzynski of Collingwood, Ont., did not qualify for the second run.

Terwiel took advantage of the wind dying down to put together a superb first run.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 17, 2013 B11

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