Tuesday, December 21, 2010

First World Cups of the Season, San Candido

The racing season is now well on it’s way with the first two World Cup Ski Cross events held this weekend in San Candido, Italy. After an 11th place finish amongst a strong field of World Cup girls in the Europa Cup last week, I was feeling confident and ready to race.

(The ski cross start with the incredible Dolomites in the backdrop) 

(The beautiful town of San Candido)

The Dolomites course was turny and fast, with some big jumps and smooth features. On Friday we had qualifications for the first race. I finished in 23rd place, so missed out on qualifying for finals which was a bit disappointing. This year they decided to take only the top 16 girls for finals as opposed to 32 last year. It definitely makes the competition much tougher in fighting for a spot for finals. In the second race I finished 25th. I was definitely hoping for much better results at these first World Cups. I feel that I am skiing well however just didn’t manage to deliver on the day. All I can do now is put these races behind me, stay positive and look forward to the next World Cup in Austria in early January.

My teammates on other hand, Scott Kneller and Anton Grimus, definitely didn’t fail to deliver. Kneller won the second World Cup by a hands reach, beating Swiss skier Alex Fiva at the last minute over the line. We were absolutely ecstatic. I think everyone was rooting for Scotty, being the underdog in the big final. It’s Australia’s first Ski Cross World Cup victory ever, and Australia’s first World Cup win of the season. Young Grimus finished 9th which was also an incredible result, being only his second World Cup Ski Cross ever. Two great results for the Australian Team! Congratulations boys.

On another positive note, the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) annual awards night was held last Monday night in Canberra. I was awarded ‘AIS Education Athlete of the Year,’ an award which recognises athletes who have achieved academic success at the same time as balancing the demands of their sport. OWI aerial skier Lydia Lasilla won the AIS Athlete of the Year. So in total two awards for Winter Sports, which is a great achievement for winter sports.

(Members of the Australian Ski Cross Team) 

 (Scott Kneller wins gold; Australia's first ski cross World Cup victory)

(Medal winners)

(Aussie staff: Marcos, ski technician, and Nick, physio)

I am now sitting in Munich airport enjoying a bowl of coffee (literally) and a croissant. I've enjoyed the past four weeks in Europe. Training has been great, and although it was not the start to the world cup season I was hoping for, I am sure there will be good things to come this season! I’m about to fly back to Melbourne for a short 6-day Christmas break; just enough time to see family and friends and soak up some sun before heading back to winter!