Whistler's Marielle Thompson looked to be completely back to the form that earned her a World Cup ski cross title last season when she captured a silver medal Sunday (March 10) at the FIS Freestyle World Championships.
The 20-year-old put together her most complete race of the season at Voss, Norway, qualifying in fourth place and cruising comfortably through her race heats, before finishing just behind Swiss skier Fanny Smith in the final. France's Ophelie David took bronze.
"I'm definitely really excited. Coming into this race, I definitely had some confidence after a good training session in Germany," said Thompson, who won back-to-back junior races at Mittenwald the weekend prior.
"In the training here, the first couple of runs I wasn't really killing it, so I knew I had to step it up and get my skiing up to par. I felt like I was back (on) my game and going fast today."
Sunday marked the one-year anniversary of Nik Zoricic's fatal accident in a World Cup race and Thompson dedicated the performance to her late teammate, saying she was thinking about Zoricic in the start gate of the final and while celebrating on the podium.
"This entire weekend has been pretty emotional," she said. "Everyone's been thinking about him, I'm sure."
Thompson appears to have found her stride at a good time of year — she was also second at the Sochi Olympic test event two weeks ago for her first podium finish of the season.
On Sunday, Thompson made it through her heat in the Round of 32 by placing second behind Germany's Heidi Zacher. She then got the hole shot in both her quarter- and semifinals and took the lead to the finish both times, earning a chance to ski for a medal.
Smith got out well in front in the final but Thompson narrowed the gap significantly before the final turns. The Canadian tried to find a way around Smith but wasn't able to find room for a pass.
"On a course like this, there aren't many passing opportunities," she said. "Maybe if there was another 200-metre stretch there at the end I could have, but I don't think so. It was getting really close, though."
Defending champion Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna unfortunately tweaked her knee in training earlier Sunday and was unable to race. However, Thompson made it the third-straight world championships in which Canada has hit the women's ski cross podium.
It's also the third consecutive worlds in which a Whistler girl has earned a medal at the event, following Ashleigh McIvor's gold in Japan in 2009 and Julia Murray's silver in Utah in 2011.
"It's definitely amazing to follow Jules and Kelsey and Chris (Del Bosco, 2011 men's world champ) last time," said Thompson. "Watching them compete, I definitely knew I wanted to be on the podium today. I tried my hardest and I'm glad I kept the streak alive."
Del Bosco was the top Canadian in the men's event Sunday, finishing sixth. Whistler resident Dave Duncan was knocked out in the opening round and placed 19th.
Read more in Thursday's (March 14) edition of The Question.