Under overcast skies and gusty winds, Team Alberta and Team Ontario each took home a gold medal after the Para Alpine Slalom Race at Ski Wentworth today. This was the second and final race for the para alpine skiers at the 2011 Canada Winter Games.
For the second consecutive day, Alexandra Starker from Team Alberta was the fastest female skier down the hill with a time of 1:52:64. After posting the fastest first run time on the course, beating all of the men, Starker went on to also have the fastest female time second run, only being beat by the top two men.
“I had a pretty good race, although I made a big mistake at the bottom of the pitch of the second run. I beat almost all the boys today, so I was happy with how I skied”, said Starker. When asked about the hill and the conditions, Starker responded with a smile, “the slalom hill really challenged everyone with the steep and icy top – it wasn’t easy!” Slalom is Starker’s strongest event, so she was happy to have taken home the gold again today.
The silver medal was won by Vanessa Knight from Team Quebec in a time of 2:05:64, and the bronze medal being captured by Alana Ramsay from Alberta in a time of 2:19:26, who is taking home her second medal of the Games.
The men’s race was won by Team Ontario member Michael Whitney, who won both runs with a combined time of 1:50.44. In second place was BC Team athlete Braydon Luscombe who finished in a time of 1:55:31 and in third place was James Binsfeld, from Team Ontario who finished in a time of 2:01.01.
After Whitney’s silver medal performance in the Giant Slalom race yesterday, he set out looking for gold today. “I was happy with my result today. I had some good skiing and some areas I know I can still really improve on. Overall I exceeded my expectations in the races here, but it gives me confidence I need for my next set of races”. Whitney, along with BC teammate Braydon Luscombe is heading to Austria on Sunday as a part of the Canadian Para Alpine Ski Team Prospect Program to compete in the Austrian Championships. “It’s going to be my first time racing in Europe, so I can’t help but to be excited” said Whitney, “I know there will be strong competition and I am looking forward to seeing where I stack up against them all”.
All the para alpine athletes are now heading to Halifax to move into the Athletes Village until the end of the week. Some will come back to cheer on their able-body team mates in the coming three days, others will go check out some of the other sports and in Halifax. “I am definitely coming back tomorrow to cheer on the rest of my team and my friends in the GS race” said Starker, who attends the National Sports School in Calgary, Alberta. “Our school is well represented here, and two of my teammates from my home club at Panorama Mountain are on Team Alberta and one on Team Saskatchewan, so I want to come and watch them”.
The National Sports School in Calgary, Alberta has 23 athletes competing at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in seven different sports. For more information on the school, please visit www.nationalsportschool.ca.