FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Grandi, Simard headline Canadian alpine Olympic team

Grandi, Simard headline Canadian alpine Olympic team{mosimage}Four days prior to the Opening Ceremony for the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Alpine Canada Alpin announced Canada’s second largest Olympic ski team ever, naming 17 athletes who have met the qualifying standards.

‘Canada will be strongly represented in Italy, the country where we won our first Olympic medal alpine skiing a half-century ago at the 1956 Games’
said Ken Read, president of Alpine Canada Alpin. ‘This delegation consists of seasoned veterans who have the maturity to perform at these Games and young skiers who have the motivation to gain valuable experience in preparation for 2010.’

Canada’s eight women and nine men will be led by three-time Olympian and six-time World Cup medalist, Thomas Grandi (Canmore, AB). Grandi will be joined by Olympic veterans and World Cup podium finishers Geneviève Simard (Val Morin, QC), Allison Forsyth (Nanaimo, BC), Emily Brydon (Fernie, BC), and Jean-Philippe Roy (Ste-Flavie, QC).

Twelve Olympic rookies who have met the Alpine Canada Alpin Olympic qualifying standards or the Rising Star selection criteria were also named to the Canadian team. All are women born during or after 1983 or men born during or after 1981.

Returning to World Cup competition after being sidelined for the entire 2004-05 season due to a knee injury, Christina Lustenberger (Invermere,
BC) is the last skier to have met the Olympic selection criteria in extremis after achieving two top 18 results this past weekend in Germany in World Cup giant slalom competitions.

The Olympic rookies are:
Erik Guay (Mont-Tremblant, QC)
François Bourque (New Richmond, QC)
Michael Janyk (Whistler, BC)
Patrick Biggs (Orleans, ON)
John Kucera (Calgary, AB)
Ryan Semple (Mont-Tremblant, QC)
Manuel Osborne-Paradis (Whistler, QC)
Brigitte Acton (Mont-Tremblant, QC)
Kelly Vanderbeek (Kitchener, ON)
Sherry Lawrence (Calgary, AB)
Shona Rubens (Calgary, AB)
Christina Lustenberger (Invermere, BC)

In comparison, 11 Canadian racers competed four years ago in Salt Lake City, while only seven skied in Nagano in 1998. Alpine Canada Alpin’s largest Olympic delegation ever remains the 18
athletes who competed in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary 18 years ago.

As part of the rebuilding program launched after Salt Lake City, Alpine
Canada Alpin set a goal of one medal at the Torino Olympics. With its
strongest start ever and eight World Cup medals to date, Alpine Canada Alpin
has already exceeded this year’s 2010 Strategic Plan goals on the
international circuit.

The upcoming Winter Games mark the return of the Olympics to Italy and the
50th anniversary since Lucile Wheeler skied to bronze in downhill in 1956.
Since then, Canada has won eight Olympic medals in women’s events and two on the men’s side. Kerrin Lee-Gartner (gold in downhill in 1992) and Ed Podivinsky (bronze in downhill in 1994) remain the last Canadians to have
won Olympic medals in alpine skiing.

‘Our strategic plan calls for Canada to be a world leading alpine racing
country by 2010′ said Max Gartner, Chief Athletics Officer, Alpine Canada
Alpin. ‘With significantly increased human, technical and financial
resources, the intent is to have our athletes in the best form ever for an
Olympic Game.’

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