Whistler’s Mike Janyk battled through injury on Sunday (Feb. 17) to post a 14th-place finish in slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Schladming, Austria.
Janyk was in obvious discomfort, keeling over in some pain upon reaching the finish line in 18th place on the opening run, apparently having aggravated a rib injury suffered earlier in the week.
He used a solid second run, however, to move up to 14th position, matching his best World Cup result of the season.
“Today was a bit of a disappointing first run,” Janyk said in a release. “I sprained my rib in the team event and it came out again in the first run so that was tough.”
Austria’s Marcel Hirscher earned the victory, with Germany’s Felix Neureuther taking silver and Austrian skier Mario Matt placing third. Janyk finished with a two-run combined time that was 2.78 seconds back of Hirscher.
The men’s slalom was the last race of the world championships, making Janyk Canada’s last hope to earn a podium finish at Schladming. The Canadians failed to earn a medal at a world championships for the first time since 2005, though they finished one-hundredth of a second away from bronze in the team event earlier in the week.
“When I skied in the team event, I knew I had reached another level so it’s tough for me to sit with this result,” said Janyk, a world championship bronze medallist in slalom in 2009. “I really thought we were going for a medal there and I knew that’s what I had in me to ski.”
Even when putting the result in perspective with the rest of his frustrating 2012-13 season, during which he’s earned points from just two of seven World Cup slaloms, Janyk felt the podium was still within reach.
“I felt really good coming into this world championships,” he said. “It would have been a long shot the way my season’s been going (to get a medal) so it’s not a total loss, but I knew I had the skiing in me and right now it’s tough.”
Trevor Philp was the only other Canadian to finish on Sunday, placing 35th. B.C.’s Sasha Zaitsoff was one of nearly 40 skiers who skied out in the opening run.
Though U.S. skier Ted Ligety didn’t finish his first run Sunday, he was the undisputed star of this year’s world championships, winning gold in super-G, giant slalom and combined during the event. American youngster Mikaela Shiffrin won the women’s slalom as well, and the four victories put the United States atop the medal table at a world for the first time.