Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Canada's silver skier

Partnership with Norway pays off as Hudec wins first medal

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VAL GARDENA, Italy -- Canada's Jan Hudec captured his first World Cup medal in nearly two years, winning silver in the men's World Cup super-G Friday.

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal increased his overall World Cup lead, while many contenders, including Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver, B.C., skied off course or crashed in difficult conditions.

Svindal had a time of one minute 35.82 seconds in a flawless run on the Saslong course to match his wins here in 2009 and last year. It was the Norwegian's 24th career win and his third this season, having also won back-to-back speed races in Beaver Creek, Colo., this month.

Norway and Canada train together and share course reports during races in an arrangement that helps the teams compete with powerhouses like Austria, Switzerland and the United States.

The skiers have labelled their two-nation team "Can-Norge," using the Norwegian name for Norway.

"It's almost like we have a single team in two nations," Hudec said. "We totally have to feed off each other's momentum and energy, and it seems to be working."

Hudec, from Calgary, finished 0.58 seconds behind for his fifth career World Cup podium appearance and first since February of 2012. Adrian Theaux of France was third, 0.91 back.

Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant, Que., was sixth.

Hudec, 32, claimed his fifth career World Cup medal and Canada's first this season.

"This is just huge," said Hudec. "It's confirmation that I've been doing the right things and just going with it and being patient.

"I knew my time in the sport wasn't up and I wouldn't have carried on skiing if I didn't believe I could do this. I feel pretty blessed that I got to be the first guy on the podium this year but it's just a matter of time before Erik and Manny are there, too. We have a great history here and there's no reason we can't do something special in the downhill (today)."

With wins worth 100 points each, Svindal moved 125 points ahead of Austrian rival Marcel Hirscher, who does not usually race super-G, in the overall standings. American Ted Ligety remained third, 191 points back, after skiing off course on the top section.

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 21, 2013 C4

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