Recapping National Championships around the globe
It’s National Championship time around the world including, of course, our neighbors to the North where the rehab program was fully tested.
Manuel Osborne-Paradis capped off a fabulous season fighting back from injury to take the downhill crown by six tenths over Jeffrey Frisch. Larisa Yurkiw got the women’s downhill title by two tenths over Marie-Michèle Gagnon, a technically based racer who has been stretching her repertoire over the last couple of seasons.
“It wasn’t the best run, but the mistakes weren’t super costly,” said Osborne-Paradis. “It’s just nice to be home.”
John Kucera corralled third as he, too, comes back from injury. He said the placing would help him go into the summer training season with some inspiration.
Yurkiw, and yes, she too is returning from injury, was glad to have recovered the downhill title she had won in 2008. “I’m happy to have it back. It’s been a long time and I skied really well today. I risked in the right places.”
Canadian results here
In Switzerland, where the staff has already begun turning over after a lackluster season, there were some stunning stories told.
Noemi Ruesch will be getting some strong looks from the new Swiss staff. The 18 year old (until the end of March) was not a member of the Swiss World Junior team, in fact, was not a member of any Swiss team. She started 39th in the National GS and said she was “very nervous” before the second run. “It’s amazing, so I would not expect this now,” she said. “That to me now succeeded. … unbelievable.”
It wasn’t a bunch of no-names she beat either. In second was Lara Gut (three hundredths back) and third went to Fabienne Suter, a world Cup winner in speed events.
Putting his own story into the realm of legend, Sandro Viletta decimated the Swiss Nationals winning the GS, super G and downhill. Nils Mani, a double medalist at World Juniors, was second in the super G with German Klaus Brandner in third.
In the downhills, at St Moritz, it was Didier Defago in second and junior Ralph Weber third.
Andrea Dettling nearly matched Viletta claiming the Swiss super G and downhills. Corinne Suter was second in the super G with Priska Nufer third. In the downhill it was Joana Haehlen in second and Jasmine Flury third.
The slaloms were tough on the Swiss men. Austrian Marc DiGruber got the win and Italian Giordano Ronci second. The top Swiss was Reto Schmidiger in third.
Viletta got his third victory in the GS over Gino Caviezel with Cedric Noger, another Swiss junior without any national team recognition, in third.
It was also a young podium in the women’s slalom. Wendy Holdener claimed the final slalom over Jasmin Rothmund and Margaux Givel.
Swiss national results here
Austria faced some weather problems at its championship bouncing the downhills to the Pitztal Glacier in April. Officials pledged to get the speed events in at all costs.
Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather got the GS win over Eva-Marie Brem with Elisabeth Goergl third. It was a veteran result with top junior Elisabeth Kappaurer in fifth. It was a junior, however, that took the men’s slalom as World Junior silver medalist Ramon Zenhaeusern clocked with with over Dominik Stehle with Wolfgang Hoerl in third. The bulk of the Austrian men’s slalom team, which features a number of specialists as well as World and World Cup champion Marcel Hirscher, either did not compete, or failed to finish as conditions made the race a tricky contest.
Alexandra Daum got the women’s slalom win over Carmen Thalmann with Monica Huebner in third. Men’s GS went to Bernhard Graf over World Junior champ Manuel Feller. Michael Matt was third. “This year was very hard on me,” said Graf. “This title obviously has a special significance. That was a really cool race. In the first run I made a few mistakes, but the second was apparently very good.”
The super G’s were held at Pitztal with Stephanie Venier, a double medalist at World Juniors, got the win over Cornelia Huetter with Goergl, more than ten years older than either, in third.
“”The track was very good today,” said Venier. “It came to meet me, because it was technically very demanding.”
Romed Baumann took the men’s SG win over Vincent Kriechmayr. Christian Walder was third.
Douglas Hedin topped Daniel Ericsson in the both Swedish downhill and super G for men with the women’s crown going to junior Lisa Blomqvist over Cup star Jessica Lindell-Vikarby. Lindell-Vikarby rebounded for the super G win over Kajsa Kling and then took the GS over Frida Hansdotter.
Jonas Nyberg got the men’s GS win over Emil Jansson. The slaloms had one surprise with Axel Baeck besting Andre Myhrer for the win. Hansdotter got the women’s win over Nathalie Eklund.
Adrien Theaux collected both the French downhill and super G titles, the downhill over Brice Roger and the super G over Yannick Bertrand. Laurie Mougel got the women’s slalom win over Anemone Marmottan, but Marmottan rolled right along with the GS win over Tessa Worley. Important to note third went to Clara Direz, a 17 year old.
Steve Missillier, the missle, got the GS win over Thomas Fanara with Alexis Pinturault third.
In women’s super G it was Marion Rolland over Worley and in downhill it was Rolland over Marie Marchand-Arvier. Pinturault got the men’s slalom win, as might have been expected, but he shared it with Mermillod-Blondin in a tie. Missillier was within two tens of winning in third.
French National results here
Osborne-Paradis photo courtesy Alpine Canada
Ramon Zenhaeusern photo by Gepa