Though much of the focus this weekend was on Jan Hudec capturing Canada’s first alpine skiing medal since 1994, Whistler’s Morgan Pridy had a breakout Olympics, highlighted by his top-10 finish in Sunday’s (Feb. 16) super-G.
The 23-year-old headed to Sochi having never finished in the top 20 of a World Cup race. He beat that mark in both of his Olympic races, placing 19th as Canada’s lone representative in the Feb. 14 men’s super combined before securing the second-best Canadian result on Sunday, finishing 10th.
In an email to The Question, Pridy said he didn’t know what to expect out of his first Olympic appearance, but that his super-G result “felt awesome” on Sunday.
“I am very happy with how I skied and my super-G placing,” he said. “I think it’s a great place to build from.”
Pridy started sixth on Sunday and crossed the line in first place, holding the lead briefly before some of the seeded racers overtook him.
“Crossing the finish line with the green light brought on a lot of emotion, and getting to stand in the leaders’ box at the Olympics, even for a short amount of time, is something I will never forget,” he said.
Hudec tied Bode Miller for the bronze medal on Sunday, while Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud won gold for his second medal from Sochi. U.S. skier Andrew Weibrecht took the silver.
“Jan’s medal means so, so much,” said Pridy. “I never had a doubt that this team would be on the podium, I just didn’t know who it would be. I’m so proud to be a part of this group of guys and there couldn’t be a nicer guy to be on the steps here.”
Ricker unable to reach semis
A slip-up in the quarter-finals denied Maëlle Ricker a chance to ride for another medal in Sunday’s women’s snowboard cross racing, as the defending gold medallist from 2010 did not advance out of her first race heat.
Ricker, who rode with a cast after suffering a compound fracture of her wrist just weeks before the Olympics, qualified in fourth place during the timed seeding runs. Needing a top-three finish to advance to the semis, Ricker was sitting fourth in her quarter-final and caught an edge when trying to take an inside line. She rode off course under her own power, but did not finish the heat.
“I’m in a little bit of shock,” Ricker told the assembled media after she officially finished 21st. “It’s something that’s going to replay in my head for years to come. I’m not going to be able to shake this one off very easily.”
Ricker said the cast she competed with limited her ability to pull out of the start.
“It just kind of all fell apart there in the quarter-final,” said the four-time Olympian. “My start wasn’t anything to write home about and it just got worse and worse as I went down the course. Usually I’m able to refocus and get back on point, especially in pressure situations. I can usually pull up my socks and dig deep, but that was really not the case today.”
Ricker’s teammate Dominique Maltais raced to a silver-medal finish behind Czech rider Eva Samkova. It was her second Olympic medal, as she collected bronze at the 2006 Games.
Kripps drives to sixth
B.C.-trained bobsleigh pilot Justin Kripps secured Canada’s top finish in men’s two-man competition at Sochi’s Sanki Sliding Center, which wrapped up on Monday (Feb. 17).
Kripps and partner Bryan Barnett finished sixth in the event, crossing the finish line in the Canada 3 sled 1.23 seconds off the winning time after four runs. Kripps and Barnett were sitting fourth, one-tenth out of a podium position, after three runs but fell back two spots.
Chris Spring and Jesse Lumsden finished seventh in Canada 2, while Lyndon Rush and Lascelles Brown were ninth in Canada 1. Alexander Zubkov delivered a gold for the host nation.
More to come…
Several local athletes are due to compete before the closing ceremony on Sunday (Feb. 23). The Whistler-based Canadian halfpipe ski team’s men are in action Tuesday (Feb. 18), while the women’s event is scheduled for Thursday (Feb. 20).
Also Thursday is men’s ski cross competition featuring Whistler’s Dave Duncan, while local skier and current World Cup leader Marielle Thompson competes on Friday (Feb. 21).
Whistler’s Mike Janyk will race in the final alpine skiing event of the Games, with the men’s slalom planned for Saturday (Feb. 22).