Shouldice Leads Four Medal Day!

Local boy Warren Shouldice wowed his hometown crowd with two enormous triple backflips and landed on top of the podium at an FIS World Cup here today. His win was the cherry on top of a brilliant day for Canadian Freestyle skiers who also earned three mogul podiums, including a win by Deux-Montagnes, Quebec-native Mikael Kingsbury, and a raft of personal-best results.

Shouldice, who has gone by the moniker “Wookie” since his second year on the team, eight years ago, wears a lucky t-shirt that reads “let the Wookie win” under his team jacket every contest day. Today the t-shirt, and the man in it, did his job to perfection and scored a total of 244.90.

Shouldice seemed a little taken aback by the emotions of winning at home, he said, “I grew up in Calgary, started jumping in Red Deer—I’ve lived here my entire life. I can’t believe that we got a world cup and I can’t believe that I won the thing.

“I had no idea it would be so special until it happened. I thought it was just another world cup stop, but now having won it at home, it’s so much more—it’s one of the best days of my life and I’m going to remember it forever, so I’m just on cloud nine.”

Taking second place in the men’s aerials was Switzerland’s Renato Ulrich at 243.01 and Scotty Bahrke of the USA was third, taking home his first World Cup medal at 229.57.

Canadians Jean-Christophe Andre (Montreal, Que.), Remi Belanger (Mascouche, Que.), and Travis Gerrits (Milton, Ont.) all had personal best finishes with Andre finishing fourth at 227.75, Belanger was sixth at 221.81 and Gerrits was ninth at 190.50.

In women’s aerials, China brought in the top two scores with Shuang Cheng scoring 187.23 and Mengtao Xu at 186.65. Olga Volkova of the Ukraine was third at 175.40.

Laval, Quebec’s Sabrina Guerin was the top Canadian finishing fifth at 132.87 after falling on her first jump. Crystal Lee (Queensville, Ont.) also crashed on one of her jumps and landed in a personal-best eight position at 118.03.

The Canadian mogul team continued what has been a stellar season so far, with Kingsbury and
Alex Bilodeau (left) gives Mikael Kingsbury (right) a celebratory pat on the head.

Alex Bilodeau (left) gives Mikael Kingsbury (right) a celebratory pat on the head.

Olympic Champion Alex Bilodeau taking gold and silver with respective scores of 24.25 and 24.16. Russia’s Alexandr Smyshlyaev was third at 23.53.

Eighteen-year-old Kingsbury, who currently sits in second place in the FIS World Cup standings, said, “It was awesome for the little snow and I did exactly what I wanted. I skied fast, not the fastest, but pretty fast with my two jumps, so I’m super happy.”

Bilodeau was full of admiration for his younger teammate, saying, “Mikael’s not an up-and-comer any more, he’s here to stay. He’s one of the leaders in the world and, he’s going to stick for at least eight years. It’s going to be his first Olympics probably in Sochi, and then probably the others. We probably have an Olympic champion in our back pocket and Canada doesn’t even know about it yet.”

Rookie Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (Quebec City) was fifth today in his second World Cup. He scored 22.96. Cedric Rochon was 11th at 21.97.

Hannah Kearney of the USA continued her impressive winning streak with a fifth win this season in women’s moguls, finishing the day at 24.43 and maintaining a tight hold on the coveted yellow bib as the overall points leader.

Canada’s Audrey Robichaud brought in her second career podium, and second medal in as many weeks, with a silver finish here today at 22.71. Ekaterina Stolyarova of Russia was third at 22.59.

Robichaud said, “It’s incredible, I’m feeling super good, because it’s my second podium in two weeks, so I’m really, really excited for World Championships next week.”

Chloe Dufour-Lapointe was 7th at 21.90, Chelsea Henitiuk (Spruce Grove, Alta) was 11th for the day at 19.10. 2006 Olympic Champion and five-time Crystal Globe winner Jenn Heil, who announced earlier this week that today’s event would be her last in Canada, finished a disappointing 12th after an uncharacteristic fall.

Heil said, “I got caught in some snow — I couldn’t really believe that happened. I was definitely disappointed because I wanted to have a good run for everyone here.

Obviously it’s emotional for this to happen on my last hometown competition. I was so excited to come out and to just lay it out on the course. What I had to do was just go for it and I went for it and I made a mistake, and that’s unfortunately sport.”

The Canadian Team next competes at the FIS Freestyle World Championships in Utah next week.