Olympics

Canadian Duncan wins in skicross WC; Thompson second

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The Canadian Press
12/22/2013 3:14:02 PM
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SAN CANDIDO, Italy - Canadian Dave Duncan is hitting his stride just in time for the Winter Olympics.

Duncan of London, Ont., won his second skicross World Cup in as many days on Sunday, rocketing him to the top of the men's overall rankings and qualifying him for the Sochi Games in February.

"From the outhouse to the penthouse," said Duncan, who skied on the international circuit for five years before winning his first World Cup on Saturday. "It's pretty hard to sum up everything that's happened this weekend. It's an incredible feeling.

"I know that's a troublesome word, but the truth of it is that describes how much this means to me to get that first win and not even have to wait 24 hours to get a second one. I mean, this is the stuff you dream of."

Duncan finished ahead of Austria's Andreas Matt and Germany's Daniel Bohnacker. Calgary's Brady Leman was fourth in the final after a mid-air collision knocked him off course.

"In the final I was battling, trying to move up," said Leman. "I was fourth for a bit, third for a bit, I was really battling with Andy Matt and in the end we kind of got tangled up and then I missed a gate and that was it."

In women's competition, Marielle Thompson of Whistler, B.C., finished second behind Switzerland's Katrin Mueller. German teammates Heidi Zacher and Anna Woerner were third and fourth, respectively.

The silver medal kept Thompson atop the overall women's rankings.

"Today was just awesome," said Thompson. "I just won every start and really showed where my skiing's at. I'm really excited to have the leader bib back again. It just goes to show that all that training I did this summer is paying off.

"I'm just feeling really great."

Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., won the small final, placing fifth overall.

"I'd much rather be in the final, but when I get in the small final I get all fired up and tell myself 'OK, this is my shot at the podium so you'd better churn out a fifth-place finish'," said Serwa.

Canada's skicross team made the podium fives times over the weekend, bumping several of its members into contention for spots at the Olympics.

Duncan and Leman are guaranteed spots in the men's skicross event at Sochi, while Thompson is a lock for the women. Serwa will likely make it as a "Tier 2" skier, while Vancouver's Georgia Simmerling is "Tier 3" and considered very close to making the Olympics.

Montreal's Chris Del Bosco and Tristan Tafel of Canmore, Alta., haven't yet made the minimum points to lock into Tier 3, although a World Cup podium finish would put either one into the second tier.

"Training with the top guys in the world, it just creates an environment of excellence and I know that if I'm able to beat (Leman) or (Del Bosco) in a training run you can feel pretty good leaving that camp, knowing that you're on pace to have a good year," said Duncan. "I think they'll probably say the same thing about their training.

"It just helps training with the guys that we do. We all push each other, we all cheer for each other, we all strive for the top. So we'll just keep on doing that and hopefully it'll take us to some pretty cool results in Sochi."

Canadian flag  (Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)

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(Photo: Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images)
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