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Crash knocks Canmore skier out of junior world podium contention

Quick Canuck Britt Richardson sat in the leader’s chair after the first giant slalom run.

ST. ANTON, AUSTRIA – A spot on the podium looked like a sure thing for Britt Richardson until a slip and a fall put the Canmore skier out of contention at the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships.

Canada’s top 19-year-old skier tumbled and did not finish during the giant slalom’s (GS) second run on Sunday (Jan. 21) in St. Anton, Austria, after the fast skier led the field in the first.

“It was definitely disappointing going out halfway down the course,” said Richardson. “Going down, I felt a little out of rhythm right off the bat. My first interval was quite good and I still held the leader position and then I came over a roll and a little bit inside and unfortunately crashed there.”

Two days prior, an illness kept Richardson out of the super-G starting gate. Dealing with a sickness in the lead up to the Jan. 19 race, Richardson and her coaches decided it wasn’t a good idea to attempt it, so the GS would be the Canuck’s only start at junior world’s.

Though, it was an unusual pair of GS runs for Richardson, who didn’t think she had a shot at keeping the leader’s chair following “a big mistake.”

The combined time of two runs determines standings, and, in the first run, Richardson hadn’t even finished the first interval when she lost her balance and went on one ski from one gate to the next. 

“I’m not exactly sure how it happened but it was kind of like a snow snake caught my ski and I got super twisted and I was going on one ski at the next gate,” she said. “I was able to pull it off at the last second and after that, I decided I have to go for it and there was nothing to lose from here so I gave it my all for the next three quarters of the course and it paid off.”

Starting with the No. 2 bib, Richardson finished at 55.31 and was up .20 seconds on Italy’s Annette Belfrond. Richardson, who is Canada’s youngest racer on the world cup, sat in the leader’s chair and watched the remaining skiers attempt to beat her time in the opening run.

“It’s a really strong field and there are a lot of great competitors out there who are also racing world cup with me, so being able to maintain my spot in the leader chair was really cool,” she said.

As the very last skier of the second run, all eyes were directed on Richardson. She came out of the gates flying, maintaining her lead after the first interval by nearly one second. However, it was a short-lived moment when the fast-moving Canmore skier caught an undulating slope and slid off course, uninjured.

Despite the disappointing result, the young athlete said there is a lot to be proud of.

“I was happy with everything else in the day,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of positives to take away from the day and knowing I can compete at the top at the world junior championships and I’m taking that to the next world cup races.”

Back on the world cup circuit, Richardson will now attempt to qualify for the World Championships taking place Feb. 6-19 in Courchevel Meribel, France.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

Jordan Small joined the Outlook in 2014 and covers the vast world of sports in the Bow Valley. A Barrie, Ont. native, he also wrote for RMO's Mountain Guide section and the MD of Bighorn beat.
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