LAKE LOUISE – Canada’s Marie-Michèle Gagnon got the boost of confidence she desperately needed on the final day of the women’s Lake Louise Alpine World Cup.
Battling an icy course and an unpleasantly cold day, Gagnon overcame the elements and was the fastest North American across the finish line in the super-G on Sunday (Dec. 4), finishing in eighth spot and earning a “small victory” following what she called a “pretty tough weekend.”
“This makes me feel like I didn’t waste my whole summer,” said Gagnon, 33. “After my last two days, I was really frustrated with myself. I know that this ice is difficult for me but I just thought I’d conquer it eventually.
“Just being in the state that I was, if I had come into today with some confidence, I think then I’m dangerous for a podium, but this is really nice.”
After back-to-back days of the downhill (Dec. 2-3), a race where getting from top to bottom as fast as possible is vital, Gagnon’s slower times was a hit to her confidence. Her results – 24th and 25th – were nowhere near the level the three-time Olympian knew she was able to race at.
The final event was the super-G, a race Gagnon knew she had only one shot to push the limits in. Despite a slick course, Gagnon’s later starting spot (24) was a blessing. She could watch how the racers before her skied the run and got information relayed back to the top.
Going down, Gagnon said she didn’t move as well as she wanted, but she was only .73 seconds behind gold medallist Corinne Suter of Switzerland.
She said it felt good to “find myself again.”
“I’m very much a feel-skier, so I could feel my skis, I could feel my platform, so then I unleashed my skiing and unleashed my movements,” said Gagnon.
“But when I’m on ice, unfortunately, I have to really force it and remind myself to do it. That's what happened the last two days, and today, was a much better step in that direction of what I’m capable of doing.
Gagnon was the top Canuck all weekend.
Stefanie Fleckenstein finished 37th and 39th in the downhill, while in the super-G, Valerie Grenier finished 31st and Candace Crawford was 35th.